“What if everything is just enough?” That’s the question that went through Dom Kelly’s mind in July 2016 as he reflected on the ups and downs of the previous year. The heartbreak of watching his mother battle terminal cancer, the joy of touring the country in support of his band’s most recent critically-acclaimed album, the ending of a relationship, the grief of losing his grandfather without warning, and the hope he felt in a sudden move to Atlanta, a city he’s always loved. That and more led A Fragile Tomorrow vocalist and drummer Dom Kelly to ask himself that single question - and answer it through song.
Dom Kelly’s debut solo effort Everything Is Just Enough is set to be released on MPress records on April 7th, 2017, and Kelly would like to call it his “bucket list album.”
“I had wanted to do a solo album for a long time,” Kelly says, “ but my insecurities around songwriting held me back. Finally, I decided to jump into it, and I called all the friends I ever wanted to record with and asked them to help me out.”
He asked his brother Brendan to produce and engineer the record at their Savannah-based studio Low Watt Recording, and from there, the project took off. What was initially supposed to be an album of duets eventually morphed into a mix of songs with guests as well as songs from Dom alone. The guests include Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Dorris Muramatsu of Girlyman, singer/songwriter Chris Trapper, Sarah Bettens of K’s Choice, and Dom’s identical brother/A Fragile Tomorrow bandmate Sean Kelly.
“I had reached out to a lot of other friends, but for various reasons, those collaborations didn’t come together. In the end, I got exactly what I wanted and needed. Everything was, very literally, just enough.”
Those musical friendships come from years of touring and recording with his band A Fragile Tomorrow. Since forming the band in 2003 when he was just 12 years old, Dom Kelly has been touring and making records ever since. Alongside brothers Sean and Brendan and their longtime bass player Shaun Rhoades, A Fragile Tomorrow has released 5 studio albums since their formation, including 2015’s Make Me Over which garnered them an Independent Music Award (for their collaboration with folk icon Joan Baez) and a number of Grammy pre-nominations. Homeschooling for much of high school allowed Dom and his brothers to tour all over the world with artists like Indigo Girls, The Bangles, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Matthew Sweet, K’s Choice, and Antigone Rising.
“I’ve always been performing,” Kelly admits. “I started dancing at the age of 5 and continued until I was 17. I also was involved in theater and used to go on auditions with Sean when we were just little kids. I always wanted to do music as a career, and thankfully, my brothers and I had parents who supported us every step of the way.”
Pursuing this path was not without challenges, however. Dom and Sean are two of triplets with varying degrees of Cerebral Palsy, and their triplet brother Paul passed away unexpectedly when they were not even 6 years old. That adversity early in life is what drove Dom and Sean (and ultimately their younger brother Brendan) to pursue music as a career.
Now, with years spent as a drummer and vocalist in his band, Dom Kelly is ready to be front and center. His debut solo album includes songs written by Dom as well as a few co-writes and a cover of one of his favorite songs, “If I Needed You” by Townes Van Zandt.
“Every song on this album reflects, in some way, the year before I started making it. Every challenge, success, failure, and joy is in here somewhere, and I can’t wait for people to be able to learn more about who I am just by listening.”