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He darts to and fro scratching a battle-style turntable, strumming acoustic guitar, pounding keys, and singing. When he moves, the crowd pulsates. And since breaking into CMJ’s Top 100 last month, Kelly Warner’s “orbiting thing” known as Hotel Eden is spiraling deftly through the galaxy.

The son of 60’s-era gypsy musicians, Kelly’s earliest memories are of sleeping in pickup trucks, chilling at Waffle House, and hanging out with roadies. Before moving to Columbus 12 years ago he grew up in the Florida Keys with a strong interest in Hispanic music. “There’s a Latino presence in everything I do,” he said. He formed Hotel Eden, named after a boxed assemblage piece by artist Joseph Cornell, in February of 2008. Previously he deejayed, remixed, and recorded original dance music with The Lab Rats.

Hotel Eden is an explosion of emotional pop music entertainment. “I like being accessible and sharing an experience with the audience,” Kelly said. He makes great efforts to write real, meaningful lyrics. “Tell Me Where You’ve Been,” which he wrote and produced in three hours, is his most popular song. It explores his alcoholic grandfather who died on Christmas and how the moon that we see every night is the same one that shone above the Titanic.

Kelly is often described as a one-man band but prefers to be known as a solo artist. “The title one-man band brings to mind knee symbols, harmonicas, and shoulder-mounted bicycle horns,” he said. “I technically take up the same stage space, PA, and audience time of a band.” To date Kelly has self-released a five-song EP titled “A Way Back Home” and hopes to record a full-length album. Performing on Saturday Night Live would be his ultimate dream gig.

As someone who has played throughout the Northeast and Midwest, Kelly appreciates how strongly Columbus supports local musicians. “I’ve only ever been shown love by the music scene here,” he said. “We may not have the budget or economy to support music on a bigger level, but we do what we can and I think we do a great job.”

Hotel Eden will perform on August 7 at Carabar with OPM and The Dirty Flaggs and on August 12 at Circus with Hotel War, Chelsea Automatic, and Halophane. Visit hoteledenmusic.com and myspace.com/hoteledenmusic for more information.

Alexandra Kelley writes about music for Columbus Underground and can be reached at alexandra477.com.

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