Photographer Greg Miles shoots the singer/songwriter who's performing Wednesdays at the BEATnik all month.

kelcy mae photo by greg miles
By Greg Miles

Recently, Kelcy Mae released Half-Light, an album that is half new material and half songs that appeared on last year's EP, The Fire. Like The Fire, songs on Half-Light are economical with space in the sound and lyrics that trust the listener to make necessary connections. This time, the stand-out element is her voice. She can do the familiar, breathlessly yearning voice, but Kelcy Wilburn's voice is becoming another musical choice as well. She hangs by an emotional thread in "Favor," but she takes a line like "Quit being stupid with my love with a measured lightness, taking the edge off the thought without letting the person being stupid off the hook. 

Kelcy Mae will play The BEATnik (formerly The Big Top) tonight and again next Wednesday. Here's an introduction, with photographs by Greg Miles. Click on photos for the viewer.

kelcy mae by greg milesBy Greg Miles


Name: Kelcy Mae

Last recording: Half-Light (2014)

A musician since: My first performance was when I was 5, so 1988 I guess. The career pursuit began in earnest in 2010, when I finished up my masters degree at UNO.

Last meaningful accomplishment: Perhaps it's because Mercury is in retrograde, but I've brought people to tears at my last two performances. Eliciting such emotion through the music reminds me that that my songs are bigger than me, and it's humbling.

The best advice someone gave you: Call it cliché, but there's tons of meaning for me in "This, too, shall pass." My grandfather used the phrase a lot. Pain and hardships are temporary. So is fortune and bliss. The idea of impermanence helps keep me even-keeled.

kelcy mae by greg milesBy Greg Miles


People need to know: how to spell (and thereby google) my name.

The best time you've had performing: Festivals are usually my favorite. My first Jazz Fest performance in 2012 is a lovely memory, and I'm really excited for the band's upcoming performance at Summerfest in Milwaukee on July 3. I also tend to really enjoy release parties--presenting live the songs you've spent so much time recording is like a giant, exuberant sigh of relief.

I make the music I make because I can't not.

kelcy mae by greg milesBy Greg Miles