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Artist Spotlight: Denton Violinist Petra Kelly

Chevy Music Showcase
She's not a star outfront, just a talented, respected, in-demand North Texas musician. Petra Kelly has brought her violin's wailing soulfulness or chugging backup to dozens of Texas bands and artists.

Petra Kelly is not a singer-songwriter. She's not a band leader, she's not the vocalist out front. She's the fiddle player off to the side. But she's the epitome of a gigging musician. Kelly waits for the right moment to pitch in the tonal effects her violin can bring to a song -- lift it with ethereal wails or gun it forward, backing up the bass guitar's chopping rhythms.

So much for all the glamor and the spotlight. But ask Kelly about the groups and musicians she’s played with in concert or recorded with, and the conversation comes to a brief halt. "I have a list!" She starts digging out her smartphone. "I can't remember them all," she explains -- she keeps the list on her phone.

Petra Kelly is another working musician in Denton.

Read more on Art&Seek, and follow the Art&Seek Spotlight as it grows.

Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.