Having ditched the North Georgia mountains for Austin earlier this decade, Kelly Green, Kody Lee, and Jace Cadle, along with Violet Lea - who they met in the city through a Craigslist ad, are a band on the ascent. And with good reason. The group’s blend of Americana, country and blues quickly made them favorites, opening for the likes of Lukas Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, and comedian Ron White. They have earned plaudits for their uptempo, high-energy live show, and they’re also two-time recipients of a Black Fret Grant, which is given to rising bands in Austin, Texas.
Yet, two albums into their career, the band wanted a change — after realizing that a slightly unexpected, non-musical element was holding them back.
At the time, the band was called Texas K.G.B. No, they weren’t a part of some Texan secret society or supporters of the Russian secret police. Instead, the group’s moniker came from Green herself — Kelly Green Band. When they first formed, Green was the lead member and face of the band. However, that didn’t stop wary bookers abroad from staying away from the band- despite their musical merits- due to perceived provocativeness of their name. When Lea joined in 2017, the band now had three strong singers and songwriters to front the stage. It no longer felt right to have a name focus on a single person.
After they completed their latest album, band producer Gordy Quist of Band of Heathens suggested that they consider changing their name. As the times have become far more political in the three years since the band got going, the time was right for them to leave Texas K.G.B. in the past.
Following multiple brainstorming sessions over the course of a few months, a name finally clicked. There were plenty of strong contenders, ultimately though, Madam Radar was the winner.
Madam Radar’s upcoming self-titled album is slated to be independently released in
early 2020, and it’s clear that their name change has energized them. It’s easy to hear
contributions across the board in every single song on the record, with various singers
throughout. The collaborative process strengthened what were already tight songs and allowed them to flourish. Songs like “Friend of a Friend” and “Young Wild Love” exemplify how fruitful the fluidity of this process were. Each song, albeit about two completely different subjects (the former is the importance of a support system and the latter about the trials that relationships bring), had different songwriters, yet at its core, stays true to the band’s sound.