Following the five year anniversary of her debut solo LP “Burrower,” singer-songwriter Kayleigh Goldsworthy drifts between the indie scene of New York, the bluegrass of Nashville, the punk of Southern California, and European/UK tours with Dave Hause & The Mermaid, integrating the sounds of her nomadic travels into the newly released EP “Mockingbird Farm Sessions.”
Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Goldsworthy began playing the classical violin around the age of 4 and went on to study the violin at Fredonia State in Fredonia, New York. Integrating her knowledge of violin with guitar and vocals, she formed the band The Scarlet Ending with identical twin sister Kaleena Goldsworthy in 2002. The indie band composed of six musicians, were based in their hometown of Syracuse, New York, and played together until 2012, with a reunion briefly in 2014.
With The Scarlet Ending on hiatus, Goldsworthy joined the Revival Tour from 2011-2012 alongside folk punk artists: Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano, Dave Hause, Cory Branan, and Laura Jane Grace, where she previewed songs that would be released on her 2013 debut solo LP “Burrower.” At the time of her LP release, Goldsworthy was living in Orange County, joined the R&B pop band Young & Sick, which prevented her from touring on the release of her LP.
Concluding the Young & Sick tour and moving to Nashville, fellow member of the Revival Tour, Dave House, contacted Goldsworthy to join his new band Dave Hause & The Mermaid as a keyboardist, guitarist, and backup vocalist.
In between a U.S. tour with Dave Hause & The Mermaid, and awaiting an European/UK tour, a road trip from her current excursion in Nashville to her old haunts of Upstate New York led Goldsworthy to visit college best friend Jonelle Belcher-Chudyk, the president and founder of animal sanctuary Mockingbird Farm.
Touched by Jonell’s passion for the sanctuary and the convenience of husband Joseph Chudyk’s career as a sound engineer, one night after dinner the trio set up a microphone in their bedroom, let Goldsworthy borrow an acoustic guitar, and recorded “Mockingbird Farm Sessions.”
The EP composed of songs “San Francisco” and “Lifelines” is available on Bandcamp for a small fee of $2 and all proceeds go towards Mockingbird Farm, or head to the Mockingbird Farm website to donate.
What is Mockingbird Farm and how did it set the precedent for the EP “Mockingbird Farm Sessions”?
“Mockingbird Farm is actually a farm and animal sanctuary where my best friend from college lives and works, and she graduated with me from Fredonia State and she became an animal assisted therapist. So she’s always been a huge animal person, she lived in Colorado after that and then she moved to New York, and I knew that this was something she always wanted to do, so it was awesome to kind of see that happen.
At the same time, I had been living in Nashville… touring quite a bit. So I decided that, I had some time off, I would take a road trip from Nashville and go up to New York and visit some friends. I’m from Syracuse, New York originally so I wanted to stop by there as well, and I stopped by and spent a few days at her farm before I kept moving. And when I was there, her husband is a sound engineer and has a recording studio, and I’ve known Jonell forever, and she asked me to play a few new songs for her that I’ve been working on, so I did and her husband said, ‘Do you want to record these?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that would be awesome.’ So just one night after dinner, we went up to her bedroom and her husband set up a microphone and a chair, and I didn’t even have a guitar with me, so I just had the guitars they had in their house and just sat in her room and played some new songs that I’ve never recorded, or never even really played out before. Not sure what was going to happen with them, but just kind of thought that this is a really cool moment, and also something that is really neat to be able to record something new. I haven’t done that in a long time. And that’s kind of how it happened honestly.”
From the release of your debut solo album “Burrower” to the EP “Mockingbird Farm Session,” what events, experiences, musical artist relationships, etc. have taken place and how have they inspired the latest EP?
“Honestly, so much life has happened since that record came out, it’s hard to believe that it was five years ago. So when that record came out I was living in New York, and shortly after I put that record out I started playing for a band called Young & Sick which was on harvest, and so I spent much of the year that record came out touring with them. I kind of became unable to tour on that release, and so I just saved opportunities to play solo shows when Young & Sick wasn’t busy.
I moved to California during that time, and I lived in California for two and a half years. And then after that I moved to Nashville. And I had stopped playing shows for about a year after Young & Sick stopped touring, and I wanted to renew my focus on my music and my songwriting and how I want to go about doing that with a whole new perspective of having been in a centrally electronic, R&B pop band for the past couple of years. I was really excited to see how that experience would affect how I write songs and the kind of songs that I write. I also was doing a lot of songwriting in Los Angeles and country songwriting in Los Angeles.
So when I moved to Nashville, my focus, I thought at the time, would be more on songwriting for other people and just focusing on playing with the best musicians I could. So when I moved to Nashville, my thought process wasn’t like, ‘Okay, I’m going to put out a new record now,’ it’s, ‘Okay, I just spent a really crazy amount of time playing a very different type of music.
I was in an indie rock band before that, I’ve put out a folk country pop record…I’m all over the place…and instead of trying to pinpoint exactly what I want this next record to sound like I kind of just want to play music and see what that does for me when I sit down and write without having anything in mind. I don’t want to feel like I’m pressured to put out another record like ‘Burrower.’
I don’t want to feel like I’m pressured to put out a record like any of the bands I’ve been associated with. And then shortly after I moved to Nashville, about six months afterwards, Dave [Hause] called me and was like, ‘Hey, I’m putting a band together called the Mermaid. Do you want to be in it for this next release?’ And I was like ‘Yeah!’
To me it just made sense to be able to play music. I just want to play music, and I just want to play music with my friends. He played the record for me and I loved it, and so ultimately fast forward from ‘Burrower’ to these ‘Mockingbird Farm Sessions,’ like all of this happened. And the first break that I had in touring with Dave was this opportunity for me to have a road trip, and it was the first minute I had to breathe that I didn’t even bring a guitar with me. It was just very organic and very natural. So it was kind of cool to see that that’s exactly what happen when I just stopped thinking about it.”
How did you form a relationship with Dave Hause?
“So I met Dave through the Revival Tour. I played in the Revival Tour in 2011 and 2012, Chuck Ragan had me come on as a guest for a bunch of the shows. And I think the first round that I played was with Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano, Dave Hause, Cory Branan, and Laura Jane Grace. This was in the first year of me moving to New York, so I was just like ‘Holy shit, that is happening!’ and so I became friends with all them. Like I still keep in touch and see all of them, fairly often, I’ve played shows with Against Me!
Since then, I play with and see Chuck all the time, same thing with Dan, if he’s around I’ll go see him with Alkaline Trio or solo. These are all relationships that I’ve kind of nurtured into friendships, and I’m really fortunate and grateful and feel really lucky to have those.
But, Dave was also on the Revival Tour the following year, so we’ve kind of been friends since then. And even when I was touring with Young & Sick we had some overlap where Dave was also touring and so I would play shows with him when I had some off time if we were in the same city, or stuff like that. So I’ve just known him for years.
So it was always… he’s talked to me in the past about playing music in his band with him and then just this was the timing that seemed to make the most sense.
Also, it was great because I was looking to start getting back into and finding my footing as a songwriter and solo musician, but wanted to focus more on just getting back into the mindset of being just a musician again. Which was really refreshing and awesome.”
Does the change of scenery from California to Tennessee to New York/Pennsylvania influence your sound, as seen in the songs “San Francisco” and “Tennessee”?
“Absolutely, I personally always been the kind of person that wanted to live everywhere. I love the idea of kind of taking everything in from wherever you are and truly being present wherever you are. And living in New York, living in California, living in Nashville, I made sure I was very aware of taking in and making friends with people in the music scenes, and the music scenes are so different but also still it’s such a small world that they’re all very interconnected.
So not only did it help me with my own music, in that regards, but it also kind of expanded my musicianship. My first instrument is violin, and I’m a classically trained violinist and I went to college for it, I’ve been playing for 27 years. It’s kind of crazy when I think about the math of it. But country music has always been something that’s inspired me, especially from that aspect… I love bluegrass music. I think it’s incredible and I think the people that play it are incredible.
So being in Nashville, any chance I would get I would go and find out when Honky-Tonk Tuesday was happening or where a bluegrass band was playing, or something like that. And California was a little bit different, especially being in Orange County, there’s a lot of punk music and a lot of really cool things happening there.
And then New York, there’s a great singer-songwriter scene. So I just kind of took a lot of different things from where I was, and then like I said, instead of trying to pinpoint and mimic anything that I was around, I just tried to take cool things from it and meaningful things from it. And I’m just starting now to see how I can apply that to my music moving forwards.”
How can individuals contribute to Mockingbird Farm?
“You can either pay what you like for the songs that I released on Bandcamp and 100 percent of the donations go to Mockingbird Farm, and that’s a really cool way because you can donate and then also get a couple songs for free.
But also, Mockingbird Farm has a website and a donate button, you can find stuff out from there. Basically with me doing this with them, 2018 is going to be a very big year for me I think, I’m working on a new solo record, I working with another band, and I’m continuing to play show with Dave Hause and the Mermaid, but this was the first opportunity I had to be able to show people like I’m not done yet and I have a lot to say, and I’m just getting to the point where I’m figuring out how to say it and how I want it to sound.
And so to be able to combine such a meaningful experience and be able to do good by helping my best friend’s farm and animal sanctuary, I think I’m kind of getting the best of both worlds in regards to having something to say and something great to back it up.”