Country pop singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini trends today as she dropped her six-song EP titled Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, which tells the story of her perspective on her recent divorce from Australian country singer Morgan Evans. Evans previously dropped “Over For You,” and the lyrics tell a very different story from what Ballerini explains in her latest project.
Ballerini additionally took a page from Taylor Swift’s book and released a short film featuring the new songs and offering a visual representation of what Ballerini was feeling like during her divorce. The introspective, melancholy shots show that Ballerini was often left feeling alone in a crowded room. A scene during the second song, “Just Married,” shows Ballerini clad in a white flowing dress, balancing plates in both hands. Ballerini has stated that she hopes to break from her history of “people pleasing” on her new healing journey.
Country fans were initially quick to start conversation about the reason for the divorce after Evans dropped “Over For You”, but some changed their tune after the Valentine’s Day release.
Kelsea Ballerini said just wait on it Morgan Evans your song Over for You was good but Ive got a whole 6 track EP of my side of the story about what happened in our marriage that lead to divorce. #RollingUpTheWelcomeMat https://t.co/Jgvk7VUESD
— Lizzy MacDonald (@Lizzard899) February 14, 2023
Ballerini shared that she initially began writing songs when her own parents went through a divorce. The stages of grieving a relationship were evident throughout the songs–Ballerini takes back her side of the narrative in “Blindsided,” when she sings, seemingly to Evans, “were you blindsided, or were you just blind?” Fans who have gone through similar situations took to Twitter to emphasize with the singer-songwriter.
Listening to Kelsea Ballerini’s new EP again #RollingUpTheWelcomeMat pic.twitter.com/QL7O8lRhuw
— Luke (@TweetsByLuke) February 14, 2023
The confessional lyricism inspired some fans to draw comparisons to Kacey Musgraves’ 2021 album Star-Crossed, which similarly details her divorce from ex-husband and fellow musician Ruston Kelly. The short film drew comparisons to Taylor Swift’s Grammy winning short film All Too Well: The Short Film, which features the 10-minute version of the titular track, and stars actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien.
How do I convince the Kacey/Taylor gays to give the new Kelsea Ballerini a spin? It's the only thing I want to talk about. It's TOP tier. Not to compare, but also to compare, it's everything I wanted Star-Crossed to be (and I looove Star-Crossed)! https://t.co/CAlOPtELea
— Matt Stopera (@mattstopera) February 14, 2023
Like the relationship that Swift sings about in “All Too Well”, Ballerini had a nearly ten year age gap with her ex husband, who she married while she was in her early 20s. Swift, along with several other artists, including Demi Lovato, have raised the public awareness surrounding the power dynamics of some age gap relationships.
Ballerini also references a “fight they had before a big show” in the EP, which led one fan to track down the performance she alludes to, which happened to be at the Country Music Awards.
"i put on a smile and sang about how it's okay to cry, dying inside" – #blindsided
here's a clip of the performance from "that big show in 2019" – which was the CMAs. 🥺 #RollingUpTheWelcomeMat #kelseaballerini pic.twitter.com/FV7YRe2K9E
— Reza Nosrati (@rezanosrati) February 14, 2023
Today’s EP release was a follow up to Ballerini’s 2022 album Subject to Change. Ballerini recently made her relationship with Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes public, but the pair remain relatively private, given the “rumors” that Ballerini also mentions in her latest work.
Kelsea Ballerini and 'Outer Banks' star Chase Stokes spark dating rumors following newly shared photos. pic.twitter.com/V5CKSh2TVz
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 13, 2023
Stokes congratulated Ballerini on her new EP release, and called her a “beautiful soul” on his Instagram story.
The EP is a bit of a departure from Ballerini’s typical style, but it looks like she already has new fans who are also rolling up the welcome mats on the homes they thought they’d build this Valentine’s Day.