Porchfest Artist Spotlight: Jeff Kelly and Cole Woodruff

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Carmel Porchfest will be underway on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Carmel Arts and Design District. Porchfest is taking place between Rangeline Road and Monon Trail. This family-friendly fest is free and includes a wide variety of music acts. This event involves musical acts playing on porches and laws on the homes in Carmel.

Over 40 musical acts are set to perform at this event.

The first Porchfest was held in 2007 in New York and has grown widely throughout the United States since then. This event highlights the streets in the district and provides a wide variety of music to enjoy. The event brings the community together and showcases performers.

The music that Jeff Kelly and the Graveyard Shift is putting out right now falls into the Americana-Rock/Folk-Rock genre. They put a high priority on the lyricism and all come from modest backgrounds.

For the Carmel Porchfest, you will see the band consist of the following lineup: Jeff Kelly (vocals/guitar), Blake Miller (lead guitar), Jeremy Holden (bass), and Kevin Hood (drums).

Courtesy of Facebook

Have you ever performed at Carmel Porchfest?
2018 will be the first year that I will be performing at the Porchfest.


What aspect of Carmel Porchfest intrigues you the most?
The thought of literally having a festival on people’s porches is somewhat unique, and certainly a chance for us to perform for an audience that may otherwise not attend our events in typical music venue settings.



What sets your band apart from those who are performing at Carmel Porchfest?
Though I feel that all the artists are unique and talented in their own ways, I hope to set ourselves apart through our stage energy. My bandmates are all phenomenal players in their own right, and we just go out there hoping to have a fun time and play as hard as we can.


How did the band start up?
The band came out of my own desire and necessity to move from performing simply as a solo artist to a full-band. I often play solo shows, but there is something to be said for the chemistry, orchestration, and performance of a full band. The songs sound ‘fuller’ and, by playing in a band, I can access and play at far more venues in and out of Indianapolis that often request full-bands over solo performances.

The Graveyard Shift, specifically, is a band consisting of a rotating cast of musicians. We do not have any one artist set in stone, aside from me (Jeff Kelly). The reason being is that this allows all of the bandmates the freedom to come and go as they need – we are all getting older, and most all of us have been through the rough band breakups in the past that are so often caused by over-practicing, over-committing, and from a lack of unity in where each player ‘sees the band in five years’. I leave the invitation to perform in my band open ended so that no one person feels obligated to commit.


What inspires your music?
I find writing songs to be incredibly difficult when I seek to write about anything outside of my own personal experiences. Most of the songs that I do write come after long periods of reflection on past and present events, and I feel that that adds a real honesty to both the lyrics and the performance itself. On the rare occasion, I get to be a conduit where a song just ‘comes out of the blue’ that has nothing to do with me or my life – but those occasions are very few and far between.

I truly cannot say that there is any one artist that inspires me, specifically, or any artists where I attempt to channel their writing or playing styles. I love so many different styles of music and artists in each genre that it would almost overwhelm me if I had to pick a favorite, or moreover, try to emulate. I love Neil Young – but I’m not Neil. I love Margaret Glaspy – but I love that she is uniquely herself… It’s fun to be uniquely me – singing in my own way and writing songs without concern for keeping it in a certain genre or in the vain of great artists of the past. Though, admittedly, many people have come up to me after the full band shows saying I remind them of “The Boss” (Bruce Springsteen), though I have no idea why.


Cole Woodruff is a singer/songwriter from Indianapolis, IN. It’s tough to pin him to a genre but Woodruff is equal parts rock, country, Americana, and folk. With The Family Man EP (2017) and his full length album This One’s Gonna Hurt (2018) under his belt, Cole is continuing his forward trajectory with some big plans in 2019. Look for new music and exciting shows coming up at www.colewoodruffmusic.com

Courtesy of Facebook

Have you ever performed at Carmel Porchfest?
I haven’t performed at the Porchfest, this will be my first performance and first time attending the festival. I am so excited to be a part of such a great lineup of local musicians.


Do you enjoy outdoor performances such as Carmel Porchfest?
I’ve played a lot of festivals and outdoor events and they aren’t always a great experience, but I don’t see how the Porchfest could be anything but a beautiful time. Attendees will definitely be getting an amazing experience with some incredible bands, and the fact that it is free is so great for everyone in the community. The bands involved are as good as anything you’ll hear on the radio and better!


What aspect of Carmel Porchfest intrigues you the most?
I love the concept of playing on a porch. I grew up in the country playing country and bluegrass tunes on many porches. It will be fun going back to how I started playing guitar and writing songs. I’ve done a lot of songwriting out on the porch, but this time I’ll have a great audience and that’s something I look forward to.


How does the incorporation of harmonica, guitar, and singing set you apart?
Well, the guitar and harmonica combination has become almost a staple for Americana/folk artists these days. When you play by yourself, it just adds a different dynamic to your music. When you don’t have a full band behind you, you have to come up with creative ways to emulate other players, solos, drums, all things that will keep your listeners ears peeled and their attention captured.


What got you started performing at events?
I’ve always played music as a writer first. I only learned to play guitar and sing to give an avenue to my songwriting. I tried being a band at first and realized that my songs meant so much to me that I just needed to do it on my own. I play with other artists in different forms of bands, but at the core, I will always sing my songs with or without anyone else. I just want to sing my songs for people and the people who connect with my music inspire me the most.
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