In support of her recently-released, deeply personally, and musically adventurous fifth-album, Gag Order, famed pop singer and native Nashvillian Kesha is currently in the midst of a fall run of shows, and is set to return to Nashville for her first hometown headliner in six years (after a planned 2020 date was cancelled due to Covid), a pair of shows tonight and tomorrow, Oct. 23 & 24, at The Ryman Auditorium with fellow Nashville pop breakout Jake Wesley Rogers! Get tickets here.
First announced earlier this year, Kesha’s Rick Rubin-produced Gag Order is a drastic departure from the upbeat, dance-primed electropop of 2020’s High Road, with an approach to songwriting less commercially-minded and more rooted in substance and quality (notably, Kesha has always been a musical chameleon and has long been able to swerve between mainstream, pop bombast and intimate, art-forward songwriting with expertise at both). The result is an experimental, psych-tinged, art pop effort which might very well be her best record yet, and certainly her most earnest and meaningful.
For nearly a decade, Kesha was been in a very public legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, with whom she signed a record deal at 18, suing him for alleged sexual assault and battery, emotional abuse, and violation of business practices, leading to a defamation countersuit with a trial set to begin this summer, before ultimately, and finally, resolving in a settlement- all of which the singer has been limited in her ability to speak publicly about, thus the title (and accompanying artwork), Gag Order. This is notably, and awkwardly, also the last album under her record deal with Luke’s Kemosabe Records.
Since erupting onto the scene with classic millennial banger “Tik Tok” in the late aughts, Kesha has proven herself to be one of pop’s most versatile and enduring figures, flexing her pop star prowess, rock and roll edge, and artistic range over numerous fanatic and ever-evolving releases. We’ve long been fans of hers, and her Nashville roots over the years (her mom is successful songwriter Pebe Sebert) have remained strong, with local musicians often appearing as part of her backing band. That’s why this return to The Ryman, on the heels of a great album, feels extra special, and we urge you to grab tickets to either night while a handful are still available here (10/23) and here (10/24) to experience this one of a kind local artist in such an intimate setting.
Kesha and Jake Wesley Rogers will perform Monday, Oct. 23 and Tuesday, Oct. 24 at The Ryman Auditorium. The shows are all ages, begin at 7:30 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.), and tickets are available for $55-125 here (10/23) and here (10/24).