Knitting Factory Presents

Kelsea Ballerini, Walker Hayes

Events

Apr 20 Fri
Kelsea Ballerini, Walker Hayes7:30 PM | Doors: 6:30 PM
Knitting Factory Concert House - SpokaneSpokane, WA
All Ages
Buy Tickets $35.00 - $149.00

American Express® Card Member Presale
Start: 11/1/17 10:00 AM
End:  11/2/17 10:00 PM

The ’Unapologetically’ Experience – $149 per package

  • One (1) General Admission ticket to see Kelsea Ballerini live
  • Meet & Greet / Photo Opportunity with Kelsea Ballerini
  • Invitation to the 'Unapologetically' pre-show experience featuring:
    • A behind-the-scenes look at 'Unapologetically' told through Kelsea Ballerini memorabilia, and album themed activities
    • Crowd-free merchandise shopping
  • One (1) Legends lyric sheet
  • One (1) collectible Kelsea Ballerini patch
  • One (1) 'Unapologetically' magnetic poetry set
  • One (1) commemorative laminate with a code to unlock exclusive tour content post-show
  • Early venue entry
  • On-site experience host

The ‘Machine Heart’ Experience – $119 per package

  • One (1) General Admission ticket to see Kelsea Ballerini live
  • Invitation to the 'Unapologetically' pre-show experience featuring:
    •  A behind-the-scenes look at 'Unapologetically' told through Kelsea Ballerini memorabilia, and album themed activities
    • Crowd-free merchandise shopping
  • One (1) collectible Kelsea Ballerini patch
  • One (1) 'Unapologetically' magnetic poetry set
  • One (1) commemorative laminate with a code to unlock exclusive tour content post-show
  • Early venue entry
  • On-site experience host

Kelsea Ballerini

Growing up means never apologizing for who you are, and what you've been through. And for Kelsea Ballerini, one of Country's new voices, growing up also meant having the courage to put it all – the loss, the love and the highs and lows of life – into song. The result? Unapologetically, Ballerini's sophomore LP, a collection of songs – all which she wrote or co-wrote, as on her Gold-certified debut The First Time – meant to share her experiences over the past two years like a sonic journal, inviting listeners to open the book of her story and listen along.

From the first notes of "Graveyard" to the concluding chorus of "Legends," Unapologetically is a snapshot of Ballerini's life since the release of The First Time, all told through songs that push Country's boundaries and reveal just how personal the GRAMMY nominee's writing can be. Though it could have been easy for Ballerini to just collect a loose selection of hits, she decided to make an "intentional album" instead, carefully curating tracks that unfolded within the record as her own musical documentary in three parts. It's not the norm to write albums this way, nor is it easy, but Ballerini goes with what is in her heart.

"I had to let myself be OK with being vulnerable," says Ballerini. "My first album, I wanted it to be an introduction, just reaching out my hand. I had a song about my parent's divorce, about being insecure – it was one song per emotion. In doing that, I wasn't really able to articulate the depth of those emotions. Now, having gotten older, having gone through a big breakup and having fallen in love in a massive way, I had to say, 'hey, let yourself feel that, let yourself write that.' The end product was this record, which is a chronological story of my life these past few years."

That record is Unapologetically, an album that found Ballerini battling through her insecurities and coming out stronger, telling the story of the many ways her life has changed in the past several years from start to present, when those first loves turned into heartbreaks, those first thrills turned into bittersweet experiences and a girl turned into a woman. It wasn't an easy thing to retrace all those steps, but she did it, working with songwriters like Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, Ashley Gorley and Hillary Lindsey and her production team from her debut, Jason Massey and Forest Glen Whitehead, writing over 200 songs but culling them into twelve sharp chapters in her life journey.

And that journey begins with loss.

Most things end, not begin, in the graveyard, but that's where Unapologetically starts: with "Graveyard," a moody and masterful meditation on burying ourselves in a relationship. Fans of The First Time might not expect such a somber note to kick things off, but it sets the musical template for what comes next: the edgy ode to self- rediscovery of "Miss Me More," the smooth sass of "Get Over Yourself" and the anthemic "Roses."

"I was going through a breakup that was really hard on my heart, and finding success at the same time,” says Ballerini. "It was a big tug of war between my heart and head, and career and personal. It was messy. I didn't show it at the time, but now I get to." Indeed, these songs peel back the curtain on her personal life – but, in Ballerini fashion, they always offer her fans a way to cope together, to make the vulnerable feel empowered, and to move on to the future.

And in that future? Life.

Because sometimes when you're broken, you have to learn to live again. Picking up the pieces after heartbreak are songs like "Machine Heart," which deals in the struggle for self-love and perfection through tender vocals, and "In Between," which is Ballerini taking syncopated stock of her exact place in the world: "sometimes I play grown-up, and sometimes I play pretend," she confesses.

"Perfect doesn't exist, and I'm exhausting myself trying to be something that isn’t real," she says. "And I know if I am feeling that, then ninety percent of the other girls that listen to my songs are feeling that too." There's "High School," Ballerini's soft, twangy meditation on growing up, and "End of The World," a moment to realize that, even when it feels like we might have hit our limits, life keeps going on.

And life's just better once we've found true love.

But leave it to the newly-engaged Ballerini to enter this phase of Unapologetically with a Motown-tinged, tongue-and-cheek nod to romanticism on "I Hate Love Songs." Indeed, the back end of Unapologetically is all about getting lost in this love, but not losing yourself. The title track is a dynamic pop-country anthem about heading into a romance with no abandon, but it took living through songs like "Graveyard" to get here. And "Music" is a stunning, R&B drenched dip into the emotional impact that a lover – not unlike a good song – can bring to our lives. Lastly, there's "Legends," the album's closing track and the first single that ties it all together.

"'Legends' feels like a song about loss, about life and about love," she says. "And it just depends on the perspective you listen to it from on how you hear it. I wrote it two years ago when I was going through a breakup. But now, it's a love song. It's about a love you are reflecting on. About loss, life and love."

Throughout all these songs, Ballerini and her creative partners use a dynamic sonic palate: electronic textures, acoustic instrumentation, clever beats, layered melodies and a full range of Ballerini's vocals, perfectly imperfect – unlike an auto-tune- obsessed generation, she embraces the gorgeous frays within her notes. And she doesn't worry about genre barriers, either.

"We let ourselves be a little more free," she says, referring in particular to her relationship with producer and collaborator Whitehead, an integral part of her creative process. "You want to make the lyrics pop, and you want to make how you wrote the song translate, and sometimes that's a banjo and sometimes that's a beat drop. If the heart of the song gets across, I don't care which one it is."

Ballerini has come a long way from her hometown in East Tennessee, and it's not an overstatement to say that Ballerini's rise has been meteoric. The Black River Entertainment artist is a GRAMMY nominee for Best New Artist, banked three consecutive No. 1 songs (a record, as she's the only female Country artist to have done so from a debut), played slews of tour dates and nurtured a growing reputation as one of Nashville's sharpest writers. But Ballerini, who got her start in music at the age of twelve as a young girl learning to cope with life's trials and tribulations, is never one to stay stagnant. She wanted to make an album even more vulnerable and honest than she's even been, and use everything she's lived to build that next chapter.

And part of what makes Unapologetically so special is that – even after o[ening for Country greats including Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban and headlining her own tour, in addition to winning scores of accolades (including an ACM Award, a Billboard “Rising Star” Award and an ACCA for Breakthrough Female of the Year) - she’s kept in touch with life’s most important truths, and relayed that honesty through songs that make us laugh, make us smile, make us think and make us dance.

"You have to use your intuition and your heart, and do things your own way," she says. "That's what I hope my next chapter really is. I've just wanted every song, even the vulnerable ones, to make you feel empowered. There is so much strength in being vulnerable."

Vulnerable: though loss, life and love. That's living Unapologetically.

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Walker Hayes

boom. Walker Hayes uses the word often. “It just felt right,” the breakout country singer says of the title for his highly-anticipated new album. It’s a celebratory sort of thing, he’ll tell you. A new radio station adds his buzzing single, “You Broke Up With Me.” boom. He links up for a national tour with Thomas Rhett. boom. That rowdy performance at CMA Fest –the one that had the crowd singing every word of his music back to him? boom. It wasn’t always this way. Not by a long shot. Lately, though, Hayes has had occasion to bust out the word often. And he’s not complaining.

A confessional, no-nonsense singer-songwriter, and one whose voice and perspective brims with relatability, Hayes is a tried-and-true Nashville standout. He’s an original in a town all-too-often rife with mimicry and compromise. And, now, he has audiences flocking to him in a major way. Conversational, honest and real in song, Hayes’ forthcoming debut album is the voice of a grinder laying it bare. It’s the stories of a man who realized the songs he couldn’t help but write — about family, struggle, vices and the sacrifices we make for a dream — were his and his alone. “It startles some people. Like, ‘Wow, he’s really putting out there,’” Hayes says of the raw songwriting that characterizes boom. and last year’s two break-out 8 Tracks releases. “But, that’s what my heroes did,” he says referencing the Willie’s and Waylon’s and Merle’s of the world. “I can only write something if I truly feel it.”

And if the Mobile, Alabama native has learned anything over more than a decade spent in Nashville, it’s that he can only be himself. His music — from the unflinching and honest “Beer in the Fridge,” to the spare and tender love song “Beautiful,” to “Craig,” boom.’s gripping album closer that documents a friend who came to his family’s aid in a time of need — is entirely Hayes’ own, even if it’s not always pretty. Hayes knows only he can sing, or yes, sometimes rap his songs. Nothing thrills him more than having no rules and no restriction on his creativity. “As an artist that was so freeing,” he says of the flexibility from his label, the recently revamped Monument Records, to be his own man. “That was like somebody telling you to write for no other reason than to just write,” he says alluding to the freedom to pen attention-getting songs like “Shut Up Kenny,” his ode to songs like Kenny Chesney’s on the radio that can immediately snap you back into those memories. “No one was saying, ‘Your song has to go on this radio station.’ They just said, ‘Go, do what you love and love doing it every day.”

He’d long had it drilled into his head that there existed finite rules that comprised a successful country song. So, Hayes is the first to admit it caught him off guard when listeners responded so passionately to the personal music he was writing. The singer says that, in time, he realized simply, “people want to hear the nitty gritty of life and the honesty and the authenticity. Just because there is something that typically works on radio right now doesn’t mean there’s not listeners out there that are craving that personal experience that they can relate to.”

“When I didn’t settle for anything but the one-hundred percent truth in a song,” Hayes continues, “listeners were intrigued the most.” This father of six, who moved to Nashville on a hunch 12 years ago and for years and struggled to make it work, relishes his current moment. He’d been dropped from multiple record labels and admits there was a time he wondered how he’d feed his growing family. Not until he began peeling back the layers to his own life and subsequently documenting it in song did everything fall into place. “A song should move people like a conversation but be prettier and more memorable,” Hayes says of his current attitude toward songwriting. “For me, it’s just therapeutic to write.”

Hayes has always been the type that had to be cajoled into doing what always came natural to him. The son of a real estate broker, Hayes loved music — piano recitals, noodling on his guitar — but figured he’d stick around home and log a normal 9-5. However, after constant needling from his father, Hayes finally agreed to perform at a local bar, if only to get dad off his back. It was a tiny stage, he remembers with a laugh — “a small crowd, but there was applause after my songs” — and it felt incredible. “For some reason, when I left that show that night I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do,” Hayes recalls. He called his wife, asked her if she wanted to move to Nashville, and she said yes without hesitation.

He instantly fell in love with songwriting, landed a job with a publishing company, and even got a record deal. But, things in Nashville aren’t as easy as they seem and soon Hayes’ deals fell through. For years, he grinded it out: writing songs for other artists where he could, working odd jobs to pay the bills, lying in bed at night trying to convince himself to not love writing songs anymore “because all it does is mess me up. It makes a fool of me. It strings me through all this up and down and eventually breaks my heart.” But, of course, he’d wake up the next day and want nothing more than to write another song.

In due-time he linked up with ace songwriter and GRAMMY award-winning producer Shane McAnally who signed Hayes to his SMACKSongs publishing company and soon released two volumes of Hayes’ music for free online — 8 Tracks, Vol. 1: Good Shit and 8 Tracks, Vol. 2: Break the Internet. As if without warning, the music quickly attracted a massive swell of popularity.

“It’s when you almost lose that you really realize that maybe you were born to do this no matter what,” Hayes says. “It’s not about success or anything — it’s where you belong.”

And now, with boom., Hayes is ready to pull back the curtain entirely and give all of himself to his music, his fans, his family –everyone who has stuck with him on this long and sometimes painful journey.

Just like his songs, Hayes’ live show is completely inimitable. Having long played showcases in the round — ones where he’d sit on a barstool and tell stories before performing a tune; he now distinguishes his shows using a loop, he beatboxes, and he incorporates a backing band of musicians into the mix. “The show is growing on a weekly basis,” Hayes says. “When a crowd is so electric that you can feed off their energy you feel kind of invincible up there. It is amazing.”

Hayes isn’t one to predict what comes next. All he’ll tell you is that he’ll be heeding his own advice because, hey, if nothing else, it’s gotten him to this point. “I started just trusting what felt right and what moved me and a lot of special songs came out,” he says of boom. For Hayes, then, going forward the process remains the same. Says the singer of the road ahead: “I’m just going to continue finding out who exactly I am.”KER HAYES

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