Raised on the honky tonk of the '50s, Kelly Kessler taught herself how to play guitar to become an accompanist to her harp-playing grandfather. She headed to Kentucky for a bit, then to Europe, where she explored her family's musical traditions. Once back in the States, she hooked up with several other Kentucky-born musicians in Chicago and began performing weekly with them. After five years, she decided to begin the Texas Rubies, a country duo with friend Jane Baxter-Miller. They enjoyed success in the Midwest but around the turn of the century, Kessler turned her attention toward her own writing. Starting Melungeon Records, she began releasing her solo material as well as other CDs from Chicago artists.