SPRING HILL, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 18: In this image released on February 14, Kelsea Ballerini performs at CMT Storytellers at WorldWide Stages on January 18, 2023 in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Kelsea Ballerini released a short film/compilation of 6 songs today entitled Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. It chronicles the story of her divorce from Australian country artist Morgan Evans. Morgan previously documented his feeling about the couple’s break up in the emotional track Over For You.  It’s a fantastic song. But there are two sides to every story. I thought we’d hear about it on Kelsea’s recent album Heartfirst. That album didn’t give me the breakup songs I wanted. But she delivered with Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. The project is first and foremost a short film. I’d highly recommend watching it that way first. The music is brought to life by the visuals and the songs fit together telling a story. But once you’ve experienced it in the way it was intended, take a moment to really pay attention to the lyrics on Rolling Up The Welcome Mat.

Rolling Up The Welcome Mat

Kelsea has been one of my favorite artists since her debut album The First Time. I’m one hundred percent a lyrics person. And there are just certain artists that are able to write in a way that I instantly relate to. She’s one of them. I love that she tells her own story, that she writes full concept albums, and that she doesn’t hold back with her songwriting. And this project exemplifies that perfectly. It shows her growth as an artist, a songwriter, a producer (she wrote and directed the short film), and a person.

On first listen to this (I’ve already lost count of how many its been now), there were several lyrics that jumped out at me and stopped me in my tracks. Some for their creativity, some for the clues they give us about what happened between her and Morgan, and some because they instantly made me feel something related to my own life. There are 18 of my favorite lyrics from Kelsea Ballerini’s Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. 

  • Mountain With A View

  • "And the pictures look pretty, at least they do on Instagram"

    This entire song is a painful clap back to Morgan’s “Over For You”. (And I think his is one of the best break-up songs ever just as an FYI). But the inflection in her voice shows the pain in this lyric. When hundreds of thousands of fans are seeing the only glimpse of that person’s life that you see. I can imagine this was one of those, moments where it hit her even if she knew beforehand.

  • "I'm wearing the ring still, but think I'm lyin' Sometimes you forget yours, I think we're done trying"

    Hearing Morgan’s side of this story first, gave the impression that he was blindsided. But this shows that they both knew and that she was pretending but just hadn’t had the strength to admit that yet. She was lying to herself, to him, and to the world. We’ve all been in a situation like that, which makes this link so relatable.

  • "One day you'll ask 'when was it Over For You'"

    When Morgan writes a song called “Over For You” and Kelsea name-drops that. Definitely an “oh sh$t” moment for me. Not just the name drop, but the fact that in this song she answered that question. He posed it, and she told him. That’s great songwriting. Early in the song, she says “I think that’s when it’s over for me”. What a fantastic way to end this opening track on her story.

  • Just Married

  • "Yeah it was love Then it was just married"

    A play on words of the phrase just married, this song and this lyric paint a different picture. One of a couple, who is going through the motions of being married but are essentially roommates. They aren’t a married couple, they are “just” married.

  • "And dammit, I wish I wasn't this ready to undo I do"

    Another one that gave me chills when I hear it. The phrase “undo I do” is so simple yet so powerful. You hear the regret and that this wasn’t an easy decision.

  • Penthouse

  • "And the interstate was so loud, there was a lot it had to drown out"

    Not sure if it was intended this way, but when I hear this lyric I think of both the good and bad that the interstate had to drown out. At first the sounds of new young love and at the end the fighting. It conveys the life of the relationship and how things stayed the same but changed at the same time.

  • "And it stings rolling up the welcome mat, knowing you got half"

    Her look in the video says it all with this one. I’d wager Morgan really did get half. Half of everything, I don’t know. But it seems like it was more than she thought he should have. And well, just watch again, you’ll see how she feels about it. I have to say I’d most likely feel the same.

  • Interlude

  • "And it was love, but it wasn't fate"

    I love this outlook. Something can be love, it can wonderful and perfect. But it can also not be meant to last forever. That doesn’t mean it was wrong. It’s all part of her story, and fate is just a little farther down the line.

  • "The rumors going 'round, but the truth is kinda nuanced I wanna set the record straight, but my lawyer says I shouldn't"

    I’m not going to perpetuate the rumors, but there’s a good chance you’ve heard them. Yes, multiple. I love that she addressed it, in her own way. And that she did that through a song.

  • Blindsided

  • "Was there nothing ever wrong, 'cause you were always right?"

    What a burn. This whole song shows a feisty reaction to the breakup. And I’m here for it. It’s impossible to argue with someone who in their own mind can do no wrong. And they are often the ones to believe that they were always right so what’s the problem”.

  • "I know the truth is hard to hear, but it wasn't hard to find Baby, were you blindsided or just blind"

    The hook of this song is brilliant. Were you just blindsided or just blind? There are songwriters across the world kicking themselves for not writing that first. Combined with the truth is hard to hear but not hard to find. I felt this one.

  • "We had to get drunk to ever really talk"

    If this is true, then I really wonder how he could have been blindsided. If you’re having to force any significant conversation, well that’s not a healthy relationship.

  • "I put on a smile and sang about how it's okay to cry, dying inside"

    Even the homecoming queen cries. And while I knew that song was relatable, especially to her, it’s hard to hear that she was in that place while promoting it as a single. But goes to show you that you never know what someone is going through. You can watch a video of that performance of Homecoming Queen? she’s referencing here. And you can definitely see the pain in her eyes.

  • Leave Me Again

  • "I hope you're feeling happier than you've ever been"

    Sure this project has included a lot of digs at her ex, but this lyric shows maturity and growth. She wants them both to be happy and knows that as hard as all this was/is, it’s the way for them to achieve happiness.

  • "For a while the shoe fit, but then I outgrew it"

    Perhaps the most relatable lyric on this entire album. We’ve all been in that situation figuratively (and literally). We grow as people and sometimes the people, places, and things in our lives don’t “fit anymore”. It’s life and can be hard.

  • "I hope I remember all the pieces of who I was that I lost on the way"

    I can feel every word of this. It’s so easy to get caught up in a person, and not realize how much you are changing about yourself to be with them. And how much the circumstances changed you. It’s reminiscent of her song Miss You More.

  • "I hope when I see you that you smile"

    Another lyric that shows she wishes him well. And while being full-blown friends may not be on the table, she wants to be in a place that’s cordial. Kelsea has written before about her parent’s divorce and the drama that surrounded it. She even wrote about her fears it would happen to her. So after experiencing that, I know she truly means this.

Sign me up for the Country 103.7 email newsletter!

Members get exclusive insights into new music, music news, contests, quizzes, and more!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.