Like Patty Griffin swapping secrets with Karen Carpenter and Anne Lamott, fans and critics alike have consistently heralded K.C. Clifford’s extraordinary voice and meticulous turn of phrase. A two-time Kerrville New Folk finalist and three-time Woody Guthrie Award winner, K.C.’s engagingly authentic live performance is a moving experience not soon forgotten.
Her new album is The Tag Hollow Sessions, recorded at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, Oklahoma with producer Will Hunt. Unlike previous albums, this 13-track opus was written in seclusion, at a remote cabin by Lake Spavinaw in an area known as Tag Hollow.
The cabin – named Gleneyrie after her grandma, Glennes – was built by her great-grandparents in 1933. Clifford retreated to Gleneyrie following months of intense nationwide touring in support of her 2010 album, Orchid. According to Clifford, the solitude reenergized her creative spirit.
“Tag Hollow is set way off the main road, it’s all dirt road and you have to wind around and down into a valley and then up a steep narrow hill ‘till you get to the cabin itself…I grew up going there as a kid, catching fish and playing in the swimming hole below the dam,” she said. “I didn’t go there with the intention of writing songs, but it quickly became a creative wellspring and before I knew it I had written more than enough for a complete album.”
Music has always been a guiding force in Clifford’s life, and her talent and love of performing on stage revealed itself at an early age. She was two when she first sang in public and composed her first song at age seven. Early influences included artists such as Paul Simon, Carole King, The Beach Boys and the popular bluegrass band Mountain Smoke, founded by her father in the late 1960s.
She studied opera for a time, but found her true voice in folk music while earning a degree in vocal performance at Belmont University in Nashville. Shortly after graduating, Clifford released her first full-length album, Times Like These, to critical acclaim in 2000.
Her career continued to blossom with the release of her sophomore album, Teeth-marks on my Tongue, in 2004 and Pockets Full of Hope, recorded live at Oklahoma City’s historic venue The Blue Door in 2008.
In March 2009 she wrote an anti-hunger anthem for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma called “Raise Your Voice.” Food banks across the country were soon requesting live performances at food drives, and a year later the song was chosen as the theme for CROP Hunger Walk, a worldwide public awareness campaign led by Church World Service to help end hunger.
Clifford credits her prolific 11-year career to the support of her “generous friends,” a large network of highly devoted fans she thinks of as extended family. Her fan family has generously crowdfunded Orchid and The Tag Hollow Sessions albums through her innovatively-incentivized “Become My Record Label” campaign.