Kally O'Mally is a diverse Americana recording artist based in Sacramento, CA. Here is an interview we did live on Facebook on January 30, 2015, leading up to the release of her solo album The Wild West Medicine Show. When she's not working in the health care industry, she's making songs, sometimes about medicine. Her music can be heard on her website and other online sites like ReverbNation.

Interview with Americana Artist Kally O'Mally

by Alex Cosper, January 30, 2015

Ladies & gentlemen .. this is my 1st live interview on Facebook with an INDIE artist .. it's a nu concept that I might do more often .. My guest is Sacramento recording artist KALLY O'MALLY, who has a nu Americana album coming out in 2015 called The Wild West Medicine Show .. I've listened to the whole album and it's very enjoyable .. It includes this beautiful song called "I'm Gonna Run."

Alex: Hi Kally, welcome.

Kally: Hi there and thank you for having me!

Alex: You've played live in Sacramento a lot. I've heard about you for awhile. This song "Easy Money" is one of your tunes from awhile back .. tell me a little about your musical background .. http://youtu.be/bqL2HFwACJU

Kally: I started singing really early. I fell in love with the songs on the radio. I studied classical for many years but realized I had a knack for songwriting and love the process.

Alex: Where do you come from? I notice you've sung about Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Kally: I was born in Ashland, Kentucky and that's where my extended family roots lay. I was raised in Homestead, Florida and moved to Sacramento shortly after graduating FSU in Tallahassee. I did a brief stint in Nashville as well. I'm very happy in California, but miss my family as they're all on the East Coast.

Alex: What brought you to Sacramento, which is like a mix of various American cities?

Kally: My ex-husband, who has since moved away. I got immersed in the Sacramento music scene pretty early after arriving here and am very happy to be living in an area that has so much talent and a strong local scene.

Alex: Tell me about your nu album "The Wild West Medicine Show" .. It sounds like a mix of various styles from pop to rock to blues to country to alternative. Where did you record it and how long did it take?

Kally: It's definitely a mix of styles. I don't like to be confined to a style but most of my work lends itself more to the countryish genres. It took me two weeks to record the music and pen four new songs. I recorded it at my house. I worked day and night over holiday break from the University Medical Center where I work. I didn't even know I could work that hard or that consistently.

Alex: Briefly, what do you do for University Medical Center?

Kally: I'm the Chair's executive secretary for the Dept. of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at UC Davis. I write patient safety songs too ... Lol!

Alex: I found your "Drug Labeling Song" on YouTube. I guess it's not on the nu album, but tell me a little about this song .. http://youtu.be/KO087EPDhy4

Kally: that's one of my favorites... When an anesthetist draws a drug into a syringe they should label it immediately to eliminate errors and prevent mishaps. I loved writing a song that included, fentanyl, propofol and lidocaine. The idea is to use music to help people change their routine behaviors (in this environment).

Alex: So it all makes sense now how you came up with the song and album title "The Wild West Medicine Show." Does the whole album have a medical theme or did you just name the album after that song?

Kally: I liked the idea of a medicine show for many reasons. It's a part of our history and the drive to find "miracle/magical cures" is just as strong today as it was back before evidence based medicine came to the fore as the guiding force for the medical establishment. A medicine show was just as much about entertainment as it was selling hope. To me it seems to be as relevant to day as it was then. I like how the instrumentation of that song turned out as well as the reference to cataplexic neuroplexy. I did some research to find words and phrases for that song. Fun stuff. The other songs fall under that umbrella.

Alex: I happen to think the song "The Wild West Medicine Show" is outstanding and much better than everything I've heard on the national pop music scene lately. That's the song that caught my attention and made me want to hear the rest of the album and do this interview .. It's a very creative song with an excellent melody .. http://www.reverbnation.com/kallyomally

Kally: Thank you...it was very fun to score and put together.

Alex: Do you think of yourself as a music therapist? I've researched a lot about music therapy and it's finally becoming a recognized profession taught in a growing number of universities.

Kally: I don't. I think of myself as a composer who works in academic healthcare. I kick myself for not getting a music therapy degree and would advise any young musician who has a desire to make music for a living to do so. I get a little twinge of jealousy when I see the music therapists coming in and out of the hospital with their gig bags. It's a great career.

Alex: Do you believe music has healing power?

Kally: I think it has the power to uplift the spirit and to bring us together so in that sense, yes - anything that connects us, is healing. But it won't stitch a gash on your forehead... ha. I read a recent study that compared musicians brains to the brains of people who regularly practiced meditation and if I recall correctly they stated that making and playing music stimulates grey matter growth, which is the same part of the brain which is affected by meditation. The thing that struck me was that after two weeks of 14 to 16 hour days of composing and recording, I didn't feel tired. I actually felt energized.

Alex: Music certainly activates both sides of the brain and there aren't too many other things like that. What drives you to make music?

Kally: It's an internal force. I don't know how to really explain it other than to say it's been with me for a very, very long time. I drove my family crazy I sang so much as a child. I'm pretty sure my sister wanted to choke me at some point, she got so sick of hearing scales. I was more interested in the radio than the tele and as a child was plagued with an almost OCD form of songs on repeat in my head. Often it was the last song I heard before getting out of the car. It would play over and over in my head and I could hear all the parts, especially the harmonies. Technology and learning additional instruments and the constant desire to improve at my craft has helped it all come together.

Alex: Your classical training is very evident, as your music has a touch of sophistication. But you also inject humor in your music, which is how I take the song "Oops I Fell Off the Barstool." Is humor the intent of that song? This is a live version but on the album it's a much more refined version .. http://youtu.be/kxCAXBl_t5A

Kally: That's a real story. That actually happened. I was at One Speed Pizza in Sacramento after yoga and this very pretty lady was drinking wine, laughing and having fun and all of a sudden there was a big commotion and she had fallen off of the barstool. Fast forward about five days and I was sitting where she had been sitting having a beer and I may have just tilted the seat back a little. I'm not exactly sure, I just know that I hit the floor and the staff came running. I think lots of folks have had or seen a similar experience. And yes, humor is definitely the intent. I enjoy injecting humor into my storylines. Folks are funny.

Alex: I think a lot of the album has a serious tone, especially the song posted at the top of this thread "I'm Gonna Run." Is that also an autobiographical song?

Kally: I have some experience with volatile people, so there's some honesty there, but that song came out of my frustration to the #WhyIStayed trend on Twitter. Abuse in it's many forms chips away at a woman's confidence over time and she'll typically find excuses to stay. I wanted to write a story where she runs and knows she'll be okay and I thought it could be used as a way to help get resource information out there as well.

Alex: I hear a wide range of sounds on the album including guitar, banjo and fiddle .. What instruments do you play on the album?

Kally: It's all me. I used a mix of tools, played most of the string sections, bass and dobro from the ipad connected via bluetooth to my imac and recorded guitars and vocals on the blue yeti. I would have loved to bring in more musicians and will again, but this was something I wanted to see if I could accomplish and my equipment needs replacing (logic kept crashing). I have other secret production tricks but I can't spill all the beans... this was my first time in the engineers seat so I had a learning curve to deal with as well.

Alex: The production, by the way, is amazing. A lot of today's pop and rock is way over-produced but you did a good job using production techniques as enhancement. Wrapping things up, what else can you tell us about the album and when does it come out?

Kally: Thank you so much. David Houston gets full credit for mastering this project. I think this best represents my artistry thusfar, but I'm continually evolving. I have an instrumental CD that I'm trying to wrap up as well and then I'll start working on writing new material. I'm finishing up the artwork now and my release date is currently 2/17. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the CD and appreciate the opportunity to chat with you.

Alex: David Houston and I go way back. He produced some recordings of my songs in the late 80s/early 90s. Great singer/songwriter and cool guy. Kally, thank you very much for doing this fun interview with me on Facebook .. http://www.reverbnation.com/kallyomally

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