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Ruston Kelly releases new video for Mockingbird

The single is the latest release from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming debut album.

Ruston Kelly
Credit: Alexa King

Singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly has released the video for his latest single Mockingbird.

The clip tells the story of an unhappy woman working at a strip club to make ends meet, intercut with flashbacks to her prom in the 1980s and how she got to this point. In the background, Kelly performs the moving midtempo song with its message of not giving up.

Kelly says: “I wrote Mockingbird in a Dominican hotel, on the edge of a bed, at like six in the morning. I needed a release from a cyclical pattern of a doomed relationship. The kind that leaves you with less than you went in with. But what directors Stephen Kinigopolous and Alexa King reminded me with their proposed story about a single mother, is even though I write about my own personal situations, it’s also everyone’s story: the human condition, our connected plight in a mad world. Regardless of how it’s expressed, we all struggle through something with hope on the other side. That’s this song and that’s this video. That’s also why I fell in love working with them immediately.”


Mockingbird is taken from Kelly’s upcoming debut album, Dying Star, which is due for release on 7th September on Rounder Records. The album’s first single, Jericho, received widespread praise from outlets including Rolling Stone, Stereogum and Earmilk, with Kelly’s vocal compared to the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams.

Dying Star was co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K, who’s worked with artists including Kate Nash and Weezer, and recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas. Kerry wrote or co-wrote all 14 tracks on the album and plays acoustic guitar, xylophone and harmonics on the recording. The record also features musicians including Jarrad K, Kelly’s father Tim ‘TK’ Kelly, Ian Fitchuk, Eli Beaird and Kyle Ryan, and background vocals from Kelly’s wife Kacey Musgraves, Jon Green (who’s frequently collaborated with Lucie Silvas), singer-songwriter Natalie Hemby, Kate York, Abby Sevigny and Joy Williams.

Kelly says of the album: “A lot of my music is focused on suffering, or trying to understand the human condition through the lens of suffering… which probably sounds totally depressing, but it’s actually the flipside of that. Sometimes you’ve gotta go into that darkness – you need to get lost and then figure out for yourself how to find your way back. That’s the only way we can find pure joy, and be really thankful for the life we’ve been given.”

The Dying Star tracklist is:

1. Cover My Tracks (Ruston Kelly, Jarrad K)
2. Mockingbird (Ruston Kelly)
3. Son Of A Highway Daughter (Ruston Kelly)
4. Paratrooper’s Battle Cry (Ruston Kelly)
5. Faceplant (Ruston Kelly, Jarrad K, Brendan Benson)
6. Blackout (Ruston Kelly, Jarrad K, Joy Williams)
7. Big Brown Bus (Ruston Kelly, Jarrad K, Ricky Brantley)
8. Mercury (Ruston Kelly)
9. Anchors (Ruston Kelly, Jarrad K)
10. Just For The Record (Ruston Kelly, Jarrad K, Lucie Silvas)
11. Trying To Let Her (Ruston Kelly, Joe Leathers, Kyle Jacobs)
12. Jericho (Ruston Kelly, Joy Williams, Natalie Hemby)
13. Dying Star (Ruston Kelly, Caitlyn Smith, Rollie Gaalswyk)
14. Brightly Burst Into The Air (Ruston Kelly)

Originally from South Carolina, Kelly was taught to play guitar by his dad, who worked for a paper mill and now plays pedal steel in Kelly’s band. Kelly had a nomadic childhood due to his dad’s job , spending time in Alabama, Belguim and Michigan, where he first began writing songs. He moved to Nashville at 17 and wrote songs for the TV series Nashville and artists including Tim McGraw and Josh Abbott Band, before releasing his debut EP Halloween in April 2017.

You can pre-order Ruston Kelly’s debut album Dying Star here:


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