Kelleigh Bannen has never felt particularly precious about traditional release methods, and since her last EP, Cheap Sunglasses, she’s essentially made music as the muse has moved her. Today, Bannen’s back with three new songs: “John Who,” “Happy Birthday” and “The Joneses,” all of which showcase the Nashvillian’s soulful vocal edge and ability to spin sugary pop hooks one moment and a tender, tear-jerking ballad the next.
“These three songs are personal,” Bannen tells Rolling Stone Country, “and my favorite kind of storytelling: detail oriented, intimate, and, ultimately, hopeful.”
All three tracks debuted this morning as a “Highway Find” on SiriusXM’s “The Highway,” hosted by Storme Warren – a first for the show and a surefire way to help ensure that more women like Bannen make their way into rotation (and hopefully tempt terrestrial radio to do the same). Loaded with kiss-off swagger, “The Joneses” praises living in the moment and eschewing material goods for simple pleasures (“when it comes to the haves and the have nots, we’d rather not keep up with the Joneses” she sings) and “John Who” is an R&B-infused goodbye to a man who doesn’t deserve to be remembered, with Bannen puffing out each “who” like she’s making them disappear into thin air. The trio is capped off by “Happy Birthday,” a somber, acoustic guitar-driven confessional about those who aren’t so easy to erase, centered around the nuanced, emotional delivery that Bannen first showcased on “Church Clothes.”
“Ten years in, I’m just overwhelmed that each of these three songs will get the exposure they will get from being Highway Finds,” says Bannen, who will announce new tour dates soon. “It’s incredible, and, to be honest, I’m just shocked to be the first artist to have three songs in this program simultaneously. I hope music fans love the storytelling in these songs as much as I do.”