Ever More Nest is a new music project from New Orleans-based songwriter Kelcy Mae, who traveled to Tennessee, experienced totality, met her spirit guide, and made a record. A band with an unmistakable Americana tilt, Ever More Nest pairs Kelcy’s signature poetic lyricism with a musical style that can set you simultaneously on a rural dirt road and a gritty, big-city street. Inspiration for the band name “Ever More Nest” came from a line in a poem by Mary Ann Samyn, which Kelcy found striking in its ability to evoke both a nostalgia for and discomfort with place. The project’s debut record, The Place That You Call Home, is likewise obsessed with the idea of place, from the fallen trees of “North Mississippi” to the infinite stars of “Major Tom” or the streets of New Orleans in "Broken Bones."
Louisiana singer-songwriter and Ever More Nest frontwoman Kelcy Mae Wilburn cut her musical teeth in the way many Bible Belt kids do—singing traditional hymns in church choirs and belting out rock songs amidst the cigarette smoke of friends in cars on the backroads. When a set of braces prematurely ended a short-lived future in trumpet, a teenage Kelcy picked up her brother’s acoustic guitar and began writing songs. Her path to songwriting was forged in the hours after school, alone in her Shreveport bedroom, surrounded by Beatles posters, wafting incense, and the bad, burgeoning poetry of youth.
In 2001, Kelcy found a home in New Orleans, where she studied English at Loyola University and dabbled at local open mics. After Hurricane Katrina, she sold flooring while working toward her MFA in poetry at the University of New Orleans. The poetry of song was her first love, however, and to her first love she eventually returned, pursuing a life in music with the release of her folk-influenced solo record Pennies in Hand in 2011. The album garnered the budding artist local and regional praise. During the years that followed, Kelcy Mae learned the ropes of touring and the DIY music life.
With her next release, the 2014 double EP Half-Light, Kelcy Mae explored her country-leaning tendencies while staying rooted in a New Orleans-influenced, pop-rock approach. No Depression called it “an album that pairs solid, straightforward songwriting with a wide ranging musical style with just enough twang at the heart of it all to appeal to any fan of modern Americana.” Writer Skot Nelson praised Kelcy Mae’s voice as one of the album’s best features, comparing her to Bonnie Raitt and Natalie Merchant. To Houston Press writer Chris Gray, Kelcy “brushes up against the sad blue-eyed soul of Shelby Lynne and kindles her inner torch singer a la Neko Case….”
Now performing under the name Ever More Nest, Kelcy Mae shows that her work over the last few years—a music-driven journey of self discovery—has paid off, and with The Place That You Call Home (October 2018), she displays just how at home she is at the intersection of Americana, Alt-Country, and Rock ‘n Roll. Where 2014’s Half-Light toyed with country and Americana, The Place That You Call Home welcomes it with open arms and a shot or three of bourbon. As Ever More Nest, Kelcy has adopted a full-fledged Americana style that nods to the likes of Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Emmylou Harris, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, and Neil Young without sounding too much like any of them. Kelcy’s oft-lauded poeticism remains a calling card of her songs and is on full display on The Place That You Call Home.
“These songs are an exploration of relationships, and, more specifically, my relationship with place—my place in the world, my place in a relationship, or the place I live,” says Kelcy. “Some feel dark, some light. Some are rural and others feel urban. Hopefully they move people to reflect on where they are in their own lives.”
The Place That You Call Home was recorded in producer Neilson Hubbard’s former personal studio (now Skinny Elephant Recording), in the summer of 2017. Recording commenced on August 21, 2017, immediately following the total eclipse that darkened Nashville for two eery, unforgettable minutes, quite literally aligning the stars over Ever More Nest’s project. Cosmically blessed, the album accentuates the best of Kelcy’s emotive, authentic voice, delicate yet driving guitar work, and honest, observational songwriting that poses the universal question: “Just where do I belong?”