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Local singer-songwriter Karley Bilsky prepares for first original track release

‘Movin’ On’ to hit streaming service Spotify April 12

ATHABASCA — For those in and around Athabasca, Karley Bilsky may be a familiar name. The 21-year-old was raised on a farm west of town, graduated high school at Edwin Parr Composite, and works seasonally for the county in outdoor maintenance. 

But Bilsky has more up her sleeve than labour experience and a childhood spent on the farm. She’s adding streaming musician to her resume with the April 12 release of her first recorded original track “Movin’ On” in the hopes of making her name known beyond the community she calls home. 

“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember,” said Bilsky. “I used to get my parents to write my songs down for me, so it was before I could even write that I was writing music.

“I would call my dad into my room, and I would just sing to him,” she recalled with a laugh. “I would say, ‘Okay, write this down,’ and we had a little notebook, which I should really find.” 

Having grown up on artists like Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, and influenced heavily by family members with musical proclivities, Bilsky said her passion for the art form has invariably been a part of her life for as long as she can remember — even if those close to her were unaware. 

“I always kept it myself until after I graduated high school, none of my friends even really knew about it,” said Bilsky. “I was so shy about it … I was always so scared of what people would think.

“But then I realized there was nothing else I wanted to do,” she added. A year of university left her uninspired to continue in the world of academia, prompting her to return to her passion. “That’s when I started saying I’m going to start pursuing music and see what happens there.” 

She describes her musical stylings as a mix of blues vocals and country-inspired sounds, and said her songs, many of which touch on the real-life experiences of her social circle, are intended to showcase the commonalities of the human experience. 

“Honestly, probably half of my songs are about my friends, stories that they’ve told me that I’m like, ‘Oh, that would be a good song, people would really relate to that,’” said Bilsky.

Her upcoming release tells one of those stories, with lyrics capturing the special kind of pain that comes with an old flame’s attempts to keep in touch. 

The song, available for pre-save on Spotify until its April 12 release date, was brought to life with the help of Dave Temple and Johnny Gasparic of MCC Recording Studio in Calgary. 

“It was honestly so amazing to watch them make the songs what they are,” said Bilsky, who usually accompanies the tracks with music from her trusty keyboard.  “With a five-piece band, it’s so much more beautiful and full, and it’s more than I ever imagined they could be.” 

The remaining three originals recorded in January are set to be released throughout the year: “Nice Bass,” is slated for release in early summer, and “I’ll Bring the Whiskey,” will be available to stream close to autumn. Bilsky said the last of the tracks, “Homewrecker,” will likely be released in December. 

In the meantime, Bilsky has plans to continue her local appearances at shows such as Smith native Jasmine Frances’s April 27 and 28 performances in Athabasca and Westlock. 

“It’s cool starting at the community level, getting fans from my hometown and that support system,” she said. “When you’re on a stage and everybody’s watching you and listening to your music and your song, it’s very vulnerable, but it’s also really special.” 

About the Author: Lexi Freehill

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