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Kelsea Ballerini releases new EP, short film and a direct response to Morgan Evans’ ‘Over for You’

Kelsea Ballerini once again follows one of contemporary music’s most in-the-moment muses and releases ‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat’ today. The intimate six song EP is a handful of postcards and polaroids from the life of the young woman who’s captivated music lovers since the chart-topping ‘Love Me Like You Mean It.’ 

To accompany the music, Ballerini wrote and directed, alongside co-director Patrick Tracy, a short film that creates a deeper tableau and sense of the emotions that went into ‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat’. Filmed in a white, minimalist environment, the film leaves room for viewers to see their own lives, even as it provides an even deeper look into the songwriter’s own emotional journey.

“I wasn’t worried about anything other than presenting the songs as honestly as possible,” says the multi-platinum country songstress. “Most of them started with me and my guitar.”  

Easily her most intimate work yet, Ballerini delivers a very lean, vocal forward set of songs that measures the most personal aspects of her last few years. Working with frequent collaborator Alysa Vanderheym, the pair co-produced and co-wrote three songs on ‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat’. Ballerini wrote the other three songs on her own, committed to sorting through her life completely on her own terms.  

“I was writing by myself for most of the project, and it was nice to trust myself again,” offers the woman who has come to embody the reality of growing up and into oneself for a new generation. “The only way I’ve been able to handle my life since I was 12 was to write about it. Ironically, I started writing music because my parents got divorced; that was my therapy. ‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat’ was how I processed everything. It’s the way I got my feelings out of my body and heart and put them to music, which is the purest way I could’ve handled it.”  

Even more than handle it, she creates a place of self-compassion for everyone. From the echoing opening chords of the moody ‘Mountain With A View,’ a whispery self-examination of doubt, letting go and a moment of recognition one can’t turn back from, Ballerini unpacks her hopes, the promises, and recriminations of “happily ever after” over a low impact sonic template. ‘Mountain With a View’ seems to be Ballerini’s direct response to ex-husband Morgan Evans’ ‘Over for You’ song.

The strings and layered backing vocal track strewn with all the little details of ‘Just Married’ beckons as she considers reality, chasing a dream and what follows.  

“I lived in a penthouse,” she says of ‘Penthouse”s inspiration. “The concept of a penthouse seems so glamorous, but it stopped feeling that way. I lost track of what was good in how I got there, and suddenly, I realized what you think isn’t always what there actually is.”  

And just like that, over a few gently falling piano chords, Ballerini faces truth, pivots, then creates the best possible outcome. In that moment, amidst the tears and regrets, she packs up, moves on, moves into the house that she truly wanted. So simple, but it also refracts the reality of so many people who face what they were told they wanted turning out not to be what they truly desired.  

The voice memo-feeling ‘Interlude’ churning, dense and stream-of-conscious, stumbles forward. Cataloguing fall-out, misogyny, and gossip, she walks through the dizzying morass to freedom.   

Whether the churning ‘Blindsided’ which ladles up how life actually is over an 808 track and a tumble of realities the public never sees, or the acoustic guitar nakedness of ‘Leave Me Again,’ which serves as a loving goodbye to someone she’s loved and a warm reminder to herself to never lose herself in what someone else, even society, expects.

Following a sold-out tour of the UK, this March, Kelsea Ballerini will launch the second US leg of her exclusive HEARTFIRST Tour. She recently announced nine new headline shows will take place across North America. The tour kicks off on March 6 at History in Toronto, ON, and will visit cities throughout the Midwest and East Coast, closing out on March 18 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA. The HEARTFIRST Tour will be a prime opportunity to catch Kelsea’s full headline set—following a handful of dates on The Judds: The Final Tour and a sold-out jaunt in the UK throughout February. Meanwhile, she’ll spend the rest of the Spring on Kenny Chesney’s I Go Back Tour.  

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