Pop singer (and Katherine Heigl hubby) Josh Kelley goes country: EW.com's Music Mix has your exclusive first listen!

He made a name for himself as a pop singer-songwriter, but Josh Kelley is now the latest in a string of folks seeking solace in Nashville. The Georgia native has signed with Universal Music Nashville on the strength of some demos he cut for other artists, and hopes to release a soul-flavored country music debut early next year. “Country is where I’m going to live out the rest of my career,” Kelley tells EW. “This is the style and level of songwriting that I’ve always wanted. I’m coming home.”

Of course, there’s already a prominent Kelley in country music: Josh’s younger brother Charles, one-third of Lady Antebellum. “Charles is the main person that convinced me [to go country],” Kelley says. “And if Charles says something — all 6’7” of him — you really do listen. He wears a damn song out if he likes it. And when I sent him ‘Gone Like That,’ he said he listened to it every day, all day long.” Give it a spin after the jump and see if you agree:

Other tracks Kelley has pegged for the album include “Naleigh Moon,” written for the daughter he and wife Katherine Heigl recently adopted from Korea, and the upbeat track “Great Idea” — for which Heigl might try to direct a video. “It’s her favorite song,” Kelley says. “She’s never wanted to do that with any of my songs, but when she heard that, she perked up. There’s gonna be a lot of upbeat songs on this album, because at the end of the day, people wanna shake it.”

What do you think, Mixers? Any Kelley fans out there ready for this transition — and can he separate himself from the rest of the very large pack of dudes vying for country radio airplay? Does “Gone Like That” get it done fer ya? And who’s psyched for the prospect of a Heigl-directed music video?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Allison Iraheta’s ‘Friday I’ll Be Over U’ video: Slezak breaks it down!
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Peter Gabriel covers Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Regina Spektor: When rock worlds collide
Neil Young’s ‘One of These Days’: An EW exclusive stream from his new live album
New Grizzly Bear video ‘Ready, Able’: Viva la claymation

Comments (36 total) Add your comment
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  • C

    I love Josh Kelley!!! This song rocks!!

  • maureen

    The Katherine Heigl directed video sounds cool..it would be even better if she was in the video :) Loved “Only You”

  • Valerie

    Oh, goodie! I hope ALL the pop singers move to country! That’ll be swell!

    • nicole

      oh yeahhh!!!

  • Andy

    You bet I am psyched..Katherine Heigl could read the dictionary on TV and I’d be psyched about it.

  • graeme

    His debut was promising. His last 2 albums have been bland pop AC stuff. Maybe the country flavour will give him some life.

    • Hannah

      I so disagree!! I think his third CD was definitely super poppy (and my least favorite of the 4), but I think his last CD is the best! Not pop…Not really anything. He kind of mixed it up.

  • bamabunny

    His voice just sounds more country…there’s a deepness in his voice, reminiscent of Josh Turner but not a baritone like him. This seems more in his wheelhouse than the pop he was doing. I REALLY liked what I heard!

  • Sally

    And THIS is news – of course we always need the reference that Josh Kelly hubby and all-round prop for Katherine Heigl because we don’t know who the HELL he is. That of course gives him ‘cred’ to crossover to country. The question is – what was he before country music – must not have been enough to showcase his talent.

    • Marcy

      Am I supposed to be impressed by the song/video? Am I supposed to by impressed that he is married? Who are you Josh Kelly and who is Katherine Heigl – are they important or famous people? If they are, how come they have not been on dancing with the stars yet?

      • PF

        You may not know Kelley..but if you dont know who Katherine Heigl is you must be living under a rock, never watch tv, go to the cinema, read a magazine etc etc..

    • Mitchell

      Wow PF you are the most brilliant person that has ever written on EW. So you really think Marcy doesn’t know who Katherine Heigl is. WHEWWW over you tiny little brain. You must be super smart.

  • Mel

    I enjoyed his pop song “Amazing,” but this clip sounds awesome– like he’s really in his element. I’m definitely interested in hearing more.

  • Mark

    Josh has a great voice and is a really talented musician. I really hope things go well for him – he should be a much bigger name than he is.

    • lila

      AGREED

      • Allen

        second that

  • cmamusicfest

    This is AWESOME news! I absolutely LOVE Josh kelley. He is amazing live and an incrediblysweet person.

  • Hannah

    I’m kind of surprised Josh hasn’t already burst into mainstream. I’m glad Lady A is country, so I figured it was a matter of time before Josh followed in their footsteps. I’m glad he’s doing it!!

  • Theresa

    We’ve been Josh Kelly fans for a couple of years now – he puts on a fun live show, too. I liked the clip & can’t wait to hear more!

  • Morgan

    I love Josh Kelley. In fact, he is my absolute FAVORITE artist. But I NOT ready for him to go country! I LOVE his acoustic rock style.PLEASE DON’T TRANSITION OVER TO COUNTRY!! NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

    • nicole

      he sound s soooo much better country though and thats where he shoulda gone in the first place

    • Brandon

      I agree with Morgan – there’s too much country. It all sounds the same. Josh had soul. I loved “Special Company.” I’m sad to think there won’t be more of that coming from him.

  • Morgan

    Josh Kelley, you are much too talented to change your style. I LOVE your acoustic rock!!!! PLEASE DONT GO COUNTRY!!!

  • Shannon

    His first album (and original material) was more “country” in sound. I disliked his new “pop” sound, I for one am happy to here this.

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