Sunday, February 29, 2004
Lori Kelley and Cletus Kennelly at Janet's Java in Alexandria VA 2-21-04

Lori Kelley got "famous" in Key West singing at Captain's Tony's. I think, as I look around at Janet's Java, Lori must feel right at home here. The pictures above the coffee machine are island scenes with parrots and big island flowers.

The stage area is in front of a gigantic circle of a golden yellow soft sculpture sun. The diameter is more than twice Lori's height - so maybe 18 feet in diameter. Sofas face the stage area, but we choose one of the small glass tables behind the sofas.

Lori begins with That First Kiss. And tells us "we are doing our songs in 2's, like we eat our M&M's" (2 at a time). So next Lori sings Supermanic - about a time on the Ophray show when Dr. Phil counseled a couple whose problem was a controlling woman who made lists for her "supermanic" husband; how could he keep up with all the to-dos and rules on her lists. This tragic tale is so funny in this song.

Cletus - Gun Shy Girl - this is about the period after you break up when you are not ready to date yet. And Leavings - Cletus's friends were moving out of town, but the song sounded whiny. A poet friend advised consulting the dictionary meaning of "leave". The reframing helps turn whining to appreciation.

Domino - Lori's take on trying not to fall in love - but what happens when you tip the first domino? Then It Was A Great Day - This song won Lori one of her two WAMMIES (Washington Area equivalent of the Gammies) this year. (Her other WAMMIE is for best songwriter). YEAH Lori. She tells us she started writing this song for a CD with her sister. The trio she and her sister were in broke up some years ago, but the song is a WINNER!

Christopher (Columbus As A Child) - Cletus sings about the "new bully bossing around the neighbor". This is such a moving metaphor! Then Don't Give it A Thought - advise to girls in this culture.

In Like Sea Glass, Lori compares sea glass to a relationship (which is polished by the sands of life). A serious song, but next is the sexy and cute, A Bite out of You.

In No Roses, Cletus sings about a woman who wants to shout "get out...come back...get out...".
Faces is Cletus's song about getting the big perspective on life. In the end won't it be our people, not the little irritations in life, that matter?

In Eowyn's Song, Lori gives words to Eowyn, the Lord of the Rings warrior princess who longs to ride with the men. "I ride to find my own meaning" (hear this song via an mp3 download at - followed by , The Blue Bird of Happiness -

In Jessie Knows, Cletus sing about people crossing the border who dream of the Statue of Liberty. Then a duet, The Gate, that Cletus wrote for himself and Lori, the story of a man blinded in like the Civil Ware who tells his love to find someone else and move on in life, and her reply

World Spinning - Lori sings this song about how it feels when the whole world is spinning on one finger, "slow it down".

Celestial Dance Cletus says this song is about being 3/4ths of the way to the serenity prayer.

Travelin Fear - "I see no reason to stay in a place I don't want to be". Cletus says the song has been criticized as shallow, but I think Cletus is just writing about people who think this way.

Snow is Falling - Lori Kelley sings about S. Army PFC Lori Piestewa, who was killed in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom - the Indian people wait for her spirit to come home (hear this song via an mp3 download at

Stand Still the World is Trying to Revolve Around You - Lori wrote this song about her daughter at 13.

Boy - Cletus sings about getting a kick in the butt to make decisions to move more quickly.

The Power of Us, Lori's strong relationship song.

Looking Up; Three Days in September - written within days after 9-11-01. My husband and I heard this song sung on 9-15-01 and it just captures so well how we felt at that time, it is still the song out of that tragedy that means the most to us.

Four Windows, Lori's traveling sing-a-long song.

Carnival Ride depicts a relationship Cletus may not want to repeat.

Downpour - Lori wanted to write a song about the men most important to her (her spouse of 15 years, or Cletus or Eliot Bronson). It turned out to be mostly inspired by Eliot. (So Eliot have you written a song about Lori?) - "healing waters.... can you cleanse this heart that been wounded to core...I guess we'll need a downpour.."

Walter Mitty Song by Cletus

More Than Enough - Lori - about growing up and learning to want more for yourself - the good stuff maybe the younger more immature you wouldn't ask for.

Let it Rain - "wash off the masks" - Cletus sings about being real in family relationships

Famous in Centreville - Everyone in Key West knew Lori Kelley sang regularly in Captain Tony's. Lori's husband job brought them back to Northern Virginia, and now Lori wants to be famous in Centreville. Though Lori says honestly she is having trouble finding venues to play in Centreville, she has a loyal audience here in Virginia.

Janet's Java is filled with audience who are here to listen to Cletus and Lori. This is not a typical coffeeshop - this is a modern bright room, rather large for a coffeeshop. And most impressively there is a listening audience. And I meet songwriters in the audience. Sitting beside us is (Gregory Lygon . And during the evening, Cletus sees Jennifer and Tom of the Burke Presyterian Coffeehouse Church and the group called Random Act, and calls out "hi" to them from the stage.

Lots of concerts have split bills, and/or opening acts, and we just hear a little bit of favorite performers. (Well we get introduced to new acts so that is good.) But Lori and Cletus are such favorites, and hearing them in this relaxed setting where they take plenty of time to talk about their songs and sing so many, this is the best! Tonight, this is the best!

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