Vidalia native records album with legendary Seattle record label

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kyle Craft had his first taste of real music as an 8- or 9-year-old boy growing up in Vidalia.

A greatest hits collection of David Bowie songs was an inspiration, he said.

“I was so young, and music was just a fun thing,” he said. “I just really liked the sound of Bowie.

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Fast forward a few years, and the 27-year-old has channeled that inspiration into his debut solo album “Dolls of Highland,” which the iconic Sub Pop record label released in April.

Founded in 1986, Sub Pop is credited with helping popularize grunge music and the Seattle alternative music scene. In the 1980s, Sub Pop records signed hit bands Nirvana, Soundgarden and MudHoney.

Craft began talking to Sub Pop approximately five or six years ago after he snuck into the label’s Seattle office and dropped off a CD. Craft said he did not expect that to turn into being signed by the label.

“I don’t really expect anything ever, I just try things,” Craft said.

While he grew up in Vidalia, the album is dedicated to Shreveport, La., where Craft called home for a time and performed.

After the end of an eight-year relationship, Craft decided to leave Shreveport and create a new life in Portland, Ore.

Most of the “characters and atmospheres” on the album, though, come from in and around Shreveport, where Craft briefly returned while recording the album.

“(The album) is really about heartbreak and getting a little older and sort of losing faith in a lot of things and abandoning the idea that things are magic or special,” he said.

As much as it is about heartbreak and disenchantment, it is also about moving forward, Craft said.

The album was recorded on a laptop Craft has had since he graduated from Vidalia High School in 2007. When Craft returned to Portland, the album was refined and mixed and made into a fully realized work.

Craft played most of the instruments on the album, basically everything but the trumpet.

The album has garnered attention from national music magazines.

Spin magazine said “Dolls of Highland” marks the “debut of one of the most distinctive new voices in rock.”

Rolling Stone named Craft to their 10 Artists You Need to Know list for March and described his sound as “a swamp bar jukebox loaded with British glitter and Seventies Southern rock; a crawfish boil aboard (Electric Light Orchestra’s) spacecraft.”

Paste magazine said, “Divisive, peculiar but undeniably unique: Kyle Craft is a strong contender for outsider of the year. An unlikely hero of rock music, he’s nonetheless created a noteworthy, potentially groundbreaking debut album.”

“It feels good, but that’s not why I do this,” Craft said. “I do it for validation with my own self and the feeling you get when you finish a song and it’s done.”

Craft wrapped up a short summer tour this week that took him to San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Diego; Phoenix; Austin, Texas; Dallas; Shreveport; Kansas City; Denver and Salt Lake City.

“It’s been fun; it’s been a while since I’ve been on the road,” Craft said.

Craft’s album is available on iTunes, and the vinyl LP as well as CD and cassette can be purchased at

Kyle is the son of Buz Craft and Torri Richmond Webber.