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K.C. and the sunshine grand

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Credit: Kriea Arie

It’s not at all uncommon to hear musicians comparing their new albums to their children. Months are spent laboring over every detail. An intimate bond exists with something in which they’ve invested their entire soul. There’s an optimistic apprehension to the idea of letting this creation move into the world on its own accord.

Oklahoma City Americana singer songwriter K.C. Clifford is being afforded a whole new insight to all of that.

Being six months pregnant, she will release an album and birth a child in the span of about three months. The former is even dedicated to the latter.

“I can tell you that pregnancy — the whole ‘giving a child life’ deal — is the most creative thing I’ve ever done. It’s creative literally on a cellular level, and so it’s an interesting thing to experience physically and emotionally and spiritually,” Clifford said. “Just the idea that there’s a little person inside of me: That’s crazy.”

From musician to mother
It’s a hectic time in her household. Not only is Clifford unveiling her new record Tuesday, but her husband, David Broyles, is right in the thick of releasing a four part EP with his own band, Dr. Pants.

“I’m rarely thinking about it all at once,” Broyles said. “I’m probably either thinking about the work I’m doing in the present, whether it be Dr. Pants or K.C. Clifford, or I’m thinking about becoming a dad. There’s a lot happening, but it’s all pretty great stuff.”

Everything points to this wild period being worth it. Clifford and Broyles cannot wait to usher their first child into
the world, and Clifford — being the heartfelt, compassionate songwriter
à la Patty Griffin that she is — can hardly wait to experience her
surroundings through a new set of eyes.

“It’s
a whole new perspective of everything,” Clifford said. “When you see
the world through a kid’s eyes: that wonder of the first time you smell a
flower or see a plane in the sky. There’s so much joy and wonder around
us that we are conditioned to miss. I think it’ll be inspiring.”

Having
a baby on the way has forced her to alter her normal approach to
promoting a new record — namely lengthy, arduous tours right on the
heels of the release, but that’s OK with her. Family comes first.

“I’ve
had to adjust my expectations of myself in terms of what I can handle,”
Clifford said. “I’m hoping the record will stand on its own and find
its own place in the world. I’ll do all I can to support it, but it’s
going to look different this time.”

Playing Tag
If
Clifford had any questions of how the process of recording her fourth
studio album would go, it was answered early one morning with a trio of
serendipitous radio plays.

“One of the first days I drove to the studio, I heard Paul Simon’s ‘Cecilia,’ then I heard The Beatles, and then something from Chicago 17 all
in a row,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is a going to be a good day. Any
day that starts with these three songs is going to be awesome.’”
Laughs, smiles and playful experimentation with sounds and instruments
marked her time recording her latest album, The Tag Hollow Sessions. The pleasant experience working at Norman’s Blackwatch Studios is reflected in what may be her happiest record yet.

This stands in stark contrast to the last effort, 2010’s Orchid. Although
co-produced by Will Hunt — drummer of Evanescence, Static-X and Black
Label Society — the disc did not come quite so easy.

“Orchid was like creative child birth for me.

That needed to happen for me, emo tionally and creatively.

There were labor pains. It was painful, and it was a serious record,” Clifford said. “Tag Hollow represents
a different season in my life. There’s joy back in it, and I did some
fun things on it I hadn’t done before. I laugh, because I think back on
this record and realize I didn’t cry once. I didn’t shed a tear in the
making of the record, and that’s awesome for me.”

She’s incredibly proud of this effort — dubbing it “a true K.C. Clifford album” — and so is Broyles.

“I
can honestly say at least two of my favorite K.C. Clifford songs of all
time are on this record, possibly more, and there’s some stiff
competition there,” Broyles said.

The
album — written in seclusion at her family’s cabin at Spavinaw Lake in
northeastern Oklahoma — is Clifford’s ode to the Sooner State.

“It’s
my story of ending up in Oklahoma when it was the last place on earth I
thought I’d end up, then having it become this place that I love, that
I’m so proud to represent as I travel across the country,” she said.
“I’m excited to let the world see that, and represent the 405 a bit.”

Tomorrow’s tune
While
album promotion and live shows will slow down soon, music will remain a
huge role in the Clifford/Broyles household. The focus turns to
pressing matters — like whether the baby’s first record will be Tag Hollow or one from Dr. Pants, perhaps?

“Neither, actually. We’ll fight over whether we play Abbey Road or Revolver first.
It’ll definitely be The Beatles,” said Clifford, noting that she’s
acquiring headphones for her belly. “David is in the midst of creating a
baby playlist so she can be properly initiated into our family in
utero.”

Clifford’s
two-night stand at The Blue Door will be her last OKC performance for
quite sometime — she hopes to return to touring in early 2013 — but she
and Broyles can’t wait to navigate this journey.

“There
will definitely be music, but we need to be in the process of
parenthood and just be fully present. We need a chance to be totally
freaked out over having brought a child into the world,” Clifford said.
“David and I are just excited to meet her and see what she’s like, to
foster a life and help her figure out who she is. It’s going to be such
an adventure.”

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