Kelly McFarling makes songs for long drives and fault lines. Born in Atlanta and based in the Bay Area, McFarling gives weight to wistfulness and renders the small and ordinary in ultra-vivid color. With a sound that moves between folk, rock, and alt-country, McFarling’s vocals are the constant: warm, assured, often breathtakingly strong.
Deep the Habit (March 2021), McFarling’s latest, captures the freewheeling feel of live shows with her band. Sparked by the idea of a feminine take on JJ Cale or Dire Straits, McFarling’s contribution to that corner of the canon infuses it with softness and vulnerability. There are hooks with just enough pop-sheen to conjure Stevie Nicks or even Pat Benetar; but we also get threads of more modern alt-country and indie-folk, like Hiss Golden Messenger or Molly Sarlé.
Dynamic in texture and vast in scope, Deep the Habit reintroduces McFarling as the frontwoman to a lush and layered band. Featuring Andrew Brennan as a collaborator and co-writer, earthy instrumentation becomes a larger factor in these songs. With Tim Marcus on pedal Steel, Nick Cobbett on drums, Andrew Brennan on guitars, Danny Vitali on bass, and Brittany Powers on vocals, the band delivers a soaring yet grounded flavor palette forged of Georgia clay and California gold.