Welcome this week's special guest Kelley Bostian. Kelley came by the Bird's Nest and we talked music, life, and so much more. He even played us a few songs. If you don't know Kelley, Like most musical artists in the 21st century, I first cut my teeth in the music industry with a fairly awful garage band. I was 16-years-old and one of my good friends approached me with an unexpected question: “hey man, I’m starting up a pop-punk band. Do you want to play bass?” Of course, despite having no musical experience or previous ambitions to ever play music, I said yes.
Now, nine years later, I’ve found that music is one of the most important parts of my life. However, the transition from a shitty high school pop-punk bass player to a solo acoustic folk artist wasn’t exactly a streamlined process. Without writing a novel, the answer can be boiled down to one major musical inspiration of mine — The Avett Brothers.
After I graduated high school in the Spring of 2013, I attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that same Fall. The summer between this transition process was, like any good high school graduation movie, a very weird time in my life. My garage band, “A Royal Skyline,” had to unfortunately split up; It was a devastating glimpse of reality at the time, but, in retrospect, I’m glad it happened. I used the few months of free time to try and start learning guitar, something I had acquired interest in from watching local talent at the countless house shows and talent competitions my high school band had played.
For some odd reason (either musical intuition or pure boredom) I caught on to guitar faster than most novice learners. I quickly sold my bass for upgraded guitar equipment and started becoming infatuated with learning acoustic versions of pop-punk songs I already knew how to play on bass.
When I started my college journey in 2013, I was coincidentally introduced to a band by the name of the Avett Brothers by a dorm mate. It was something new to me: I grew up in Nashville my entire life and hated country music, but I didn’t know that acoustic folk/Americana, what the Avett Brothers embody so well, even existed. And so, throughout my time in Chattanooga, I simultaneously practiced more advanced guitar techniques while exploring the genre of acoustic folk like a kid in a candy shop.
In my senior year of college, I formed an acoustic duo with a fellow English Major by the name of Logan Wilson. We both had similarly passionate interests in the genre, specifically in our love for artists like The Avetts, Simon and Garfunkel, Chris Thile, and The Milk Carton Kids. After a few months just playing for fun, we decided to start playing shows as a cover band, which was around the time I was wrapping up my undergraduate degree.
In 2017, I got a BA in Rhetoric and Professional Writing, but I also formed an official duo with Logan under the name “The Papaws.” At this point, we were about as polished as two early twenty-year-old could be, and we decided to write and record some original music. In 2018, we published a self-titled EP under the name “The Papaws” and started picking up steam in the Chattanooga music scene.
This was also when I made the decision that I would be moving to Georgia to pursue graduate studies in English. Of course, this put an end to “The Papaws” as a Chattanooga musical act, but it also made me realize that I had the unique opportunity to move to a new area and form a fresh musical identity as a singer/songwriter.
And so, that’s where my story currently sits. As I have a year(ish) left in my graduate program, I’m simultaneously working passionately towards the release of my first solo EP. All of my experiences, from high school to the Chattanooga music scene, have formed a unique acoustic sound that I can’t exactly fit into one single genre.
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