A Little About Me.


I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. 
My father was a bass player who played with Eddy Arnold, the Owen Bradley Orchestra, and Claude Thornhill, among others. He loved jazz from Lester Young to Miles Davis. My mother favored Mahalia Jackson, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and James Brown and the Fabulous Flames. The turntable at our house was democratic and always playing something. In addition to what my folks fancied, my siblings and I added to the mix American pop, the British Invasion, Motown, and Stax records. All this provided the soundtrack of our youth growing up in the sixties South. 

A little bit more

Other than a brief flirt with the flute in 5th grade, my first instrument was a balalaika that I bought while visiting my Aunt Francis in Germany in the summer of ’72. I began figuring out Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young songs and by Christmas of that same year I got my first electric guitar. Within weeks I had removed the two high strings and by the following Christmas I asked for and received a Kent electric bass. I've been a bass player ever since.

OK, a lot more

During my second year of college I met Eddy Shaver (who was 16 at the time), and before the school year was out so was I and in my first professional band touring with Eddy and his dad, Billy Joe Shaver. After a brief stint with Marshall Chapman and the great Joe South I auditioned for and got the job playing with Connie Smith on the Grand Ole Opry from ’82 to ’87. My grandmother was impressed! 

That summer of ’87 I went on tour with Tom Kimmel opening for Heart on their smash Bad Animals tour and got my first taste of big time rock touring. Also that year I met Gwil Owen, Jeff Finlin, Bart Weilburg, and Tony Crow and together we formed The Thieves. After getting a record deal with Capitol, we recorded Seduced By Money, which was produced by Marshall Crenshaw.

In 1988 I was hired by Steve Earle and we recorded the classic album Copperhead Road. I’ve been touring and recording with Steve ever since. I’ve also played with Deana Carter in some of the breaks when Steve did solo or bluegrass tours.

Since the end of high school I’d played in local bands, most notably John Jackson and the Rhythm Rockers. I was in a couple of bands that did songs I’d written but I didn’t take it seriously until I learned to look hard at what I was trying to say and how to truly finish a song. All of the songs on my first album Black Sheep Blues were written from the mid-nineties until 2012. There’s more about that in the liner notes. 


2015 finds me out on tour with Steve Earle and the Dukes who are myself, Will Rigby, Chris Masterson, and Eleanor Whitmore. I am now in the early planning stages of my next album which I hope to begin recording this fall. Add your email address to my mailing list and I will keep you posted, so stay tuned and all the best to each and every one of you. 
Thanks for your interest,
Kelley Looney
Fall 2015





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Black Sheep Blues

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