A country girl who has grown into a strong woman, Kellie Pickler, is set to bring her storytelling music to Jamestown.
Pickler, a contestant from the fifth season of "American Idol" who has since made a name for herself as a country music touring and recording artist, will appear at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
According to Pickler, she's looking forward to hitting the road in 2014 because she's yet to try out all of her new music and can't wait to see how it goes over with her audience.
Kellie Pickler The Woman I Am - The album cover of Kellie Pickler's newest album, 'The Woman I Am,' is shown.
"I just recently recorded and released my new album 'The Woman I Am' so we're doing alright on new songs," Pickler said. "We're really excited about that, and we have band rehearsals to start working on the new music - I can't wait to try it out and see how it goes."
Pickler's show will feature performances of tunes from her first three albums, "Small Town Girl," "Kellie Pickler" and "100 Proof," as well as selections from her newest album, "The Woman I Am." Pickler will no doubt perform the first single from "The Woman I Am," "Someone Somewhere Tonight," as well as her current single, "Little Bit Gypsy."
"I love, 'Someone Somewhere Tonight' - it's such a special song," Pickler said. "And, the new single, 'Little Bit Gypsy' is a fun story song that feels good. There's also a song called 'Selma Drye,' which is about my great-grandma. It's a really fun story song about her and the women of her generation - it's one of my favorite ones on the record. We've got a bunch of the newer stuff that we'll be working into the show, which will be nice."
For Pickler, to release "The Woman I Am" feels like accomplishing a milestone, she said. When she was on "American Idol" she said she felt green, and ignorant about what was outside her hometown, Albemarle, N.C. But, now that she's had the opportunity and privilege to travel, see the world and meet so many people from all different walks of life, she feels it has helped her grow as a person. To thank for her success, Pickler has her grandmother, Faye, who raised her. Pickler said she draws so much of her strength, inspiration and wisdom from Faye.
"When you listen to my first album, 'Small Town Girl,' and then you fast forward almost eight years to 'The Woman I Am' - a lot has happened in my life," Pickler said. "I've experienced, and witnessed so many crazy, unbelievable things - I think this album shows that growth, and where I am as a young woman versus a young teenager. People say the word 'change' like it's a bad thing, but I don't think change is a bad thing - I think it's a great thing. It can be a bad thing, but for me, I like to think I'm not the same person I was when I was 19 - hopefully I'm better. And, when I'm 40, hopefully I'll be better than what I am when I'm 28. I feel like I haven't even started living yet. But, there's a difference between being alive and living, and while I'm alive, I want to live. I don't want to be locked in once place where I feel like I have a chain and ball. I want to be able to see the world."
A little bit gypsy and a little bit country, Pickler doesn't want to be put in a box, she said. She doesn't just do breakup songs or love songs - rather she sings about all types of things.
"Every song is not about a boy - each song has a different meaning, message and is about a part of my life," Pickler said. "I like to tell stories with songs, and I think that's what country music is about - storytelling. If you go back and listen to Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn albums, all of their songs are story songs. I think that's pretty cool, and that people identify with that."
Pickler's storytelling mentality is partly why she writes many of her own songs, she said. But, she also creates her own interpretations of songs written by others. Her husband, Kyle Jacobs, is a producer, and so people send many demos to him. So, she said she hears thousands of songs, and although some aren't so great, others are timeless.
"A great song is a great song - it doesn't matter who wrote it," Pickler said. "I think that there are so many amazing songs that no one has ever heard that are just sitting on a shelf in Nashville collecting dust - some of the greatest country songs have never even been heard. It's a shame that some aren't commercial enough to be heard."
Although Pickler and dance coach Derek Hough won the Mirror Ball Trophy on 2013's season of "Dancing With The Stars," she said her live performance doesn't include a dance routine.
"I do not dance in the shows. I'm just a country singer - nothing special," Pickler said. "I just get out there and sing my songs, and tell my story in the form of a song."
Pickler will, however, have a band to support her during the JSBA performance. She has a band that goes on the road with her when she tours, and they just returned from their seventh USO Tour in December. Two members of the band, bassist Jay Gorman and drummer Gregg Lohman, have been with her since her first gig with "American Idol," she said.
"They've been with me since my very first show -we're family," Pickler said. "Our first gig together was 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno."
Opening for Pickler is a band called "The Stickers," which is a featured act in Nashville's CMA Festival. The band is currently working on its second album, but the single, "Separate Lives," has already found its way into the public's ears. For more information, visit www.thestickers.com.
Tickets to Thursday's performance start at $25. The JSBA is located at 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information, call 484-2624 or visit www.jamestownarena.com.