Kelsea Ballerini is next in line to take up the Queen of Country Music tiara, and she’s certainly off to a grand start. Her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It” (off her Black River bow The First Time) quenched the female drought on radio, rising to No. 1 on both Mediabase and Billboard‘s Country Airplay; she was the first solo female to take their first radio release to the top since Carrie Underwood did with “Jesus Take the Wheel” in 2006. As a result, Ballerini‘s start is beginning to shine brighter than ever. Her follow-up “Dibs” is currently sitting just outside the top 30 and we couldn’t be more excited. Despite criticisms that her tunes are “too pop,” you’d be surprised to know that her live, acoustic shows display such a rich and vibrant tradition to country’s folk roots.
To celebrate her new found success, we have put together a list of her seven best acoustic performances, ranging from intimate showcases in downtown Nashville to clips from her radio tour.
7 Stunning Acoustic Performances from Kelsea Ballerini:
1. Song Suffragettes, Let the Girls Play! (March 17, 2014) // “Love Me Like You Mean It”
Nearly a year before the song would go on to become her first-ever No. 1 hit, Kelsea stripped back the pop production to deliver a completely mesmerizing performance of “Love Me Like You Mean It,” the lead single to her debut The First Time.
2. Bluebird Cafe (January 12, 2013) // “Lost and Found”
As her “favorite song [she’s] ever written,” she pulled out all the stops on a story-song about faith and finding redemption. This song didn’t make her debut album, but she’s (hopefully) saving it for later on. It is quite simply one of the most resonating and moving country songs in the past 10 years. Hands down.
3. Thunder 106 (August 8, 2014) // “XO”
This high-octane track launches her debut album with fervor and energy. And this live performance isn’t any different.
4. Live from the Grand Ole Opry Lounge (June 4, 2015) // “The First Time”
Ripped straight out of her personal life, Kelsea laments a breakup with passion and true star power. Fun fact: she wrote the song all by herself! Impressive.
5. WYRK Radio Station (September 30, 2014) // “Stilettos”
As one of her album’s absolute gems, she proved that she can deliver a gut-wrenching ballad with the best of ’em. Powerful stuff.
6. Bing Lounge (August 14, 2014) // “Peter Pan”
Utilizing vivid child-like imagery, Kelsea offers a new perspective on a failed relationship, flying high into the clouds and back down again. This particular performance of the song allows the lyrics to be highlighted front and center without any production fluff.
7. Live at 955 The Bull (July 17, 2014) // “Dibs”
Her new single is just plain fun, and this driving performance allows Kelsea to really shine on the drip, drop beat.
Image Source: Black River Entertainment