Michaela Anne brings wit and candor with ‘Won’t Go Down’

From a New York spirit to a Nashville state of mind: that’s the transition Michaela Anne seems to have made with her new single ‘Won’t Go Down’, an upbeat song that introduces us to the extrovert side of her sound and personality.

The cover art gives the tone – an electric blue bedazzled jumpsuit that plunges us into a vintage honky-tonk mood. With its electric guitars and retro melody, ‘Won’t Go Down’ delves into Anne’s balance between being freewheeling and having moral values, in an up-tempo yet introspective way.

Co-written with producer Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark, Jerrod Nieman), the song explores their relationship with trouble, as the two were raised in military families and ended up in the world of music. “I ain’t no angel but I stand my ground” she sings, claiming there are sins she’ll give in to and sins she won’t.

Michaela Anne has definitely widened her range in terms of topics and musical color, adding an element of spontaneity and liveliness to her music after the very autobiographical Ease My Mind.

Joining Kelsey Waldon and Margo Price on the East Nashville scene, Michaela Anne announces with ‘Won’t Go Down’ a playful new album that mixes heartfelt lyrics and catchy hooks. Bright Lights and the Fame is set to be released in May and is already available for pre-order.

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Photo by Angelina Castillo
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Diary of a Texan gone north

In 2004 Monica Rizzio left Texas for Cape Cod, Massachusetts, putting her cowgirl background aside for a while and opening herself to the full north eastern experience. A decade later, she reunites with her Texan roots to create Washashore Cowgirl, an intimate collection of love, life, and heartbreak songs.

It all started with a guitar, a 1956 Martin 0-18 that inspired Monica Rizzio to leave her band, the Tripping Lily, and put her own story into songs. This faithful companion followed her on this introspective journey, from writing a mix of playful and poignant lyrics to reviving the musicality of her southern upbringing.

Funded through PledgeMusic, Washashore Cowgirl covers traditional country topics – cheating, finding love, losing love, and leaving home – through the autobiographical lens of a 21st century woman. This lyrical specter appears from the very start of the album, with the failed relationship told in ‘You And Me’, the love declaration of ‘Best I Can’, and the travelling history sung in ‘Texarkana’.

Follows ‘A Little Time’, a ballad about moving on after a heartbreak and not letting the pain linger and settle for too long. “I got to make this life worth living for / even when I’m feeling down” Rizzio sings, before switching to the lighter theme of ‘Willie Nelson’, an ode to her country idol.

Between the classic bluegrass ‘Delta Dawn’, the pure Western Swing title track, and the folk-inspired ‘Buttercups’ and ‘On My Way’, Rizzio manages to elegantly blend tradition and modernity, humor and depth, north and south inspirations – as told by the album title (a “washashore” is a person who moved to Cape Cod but who was not born there).

The album then closes on a deeply emotional note, with ‘Luckier Than You’ – a wedding gift to her husband, and ‘Long Lost Friend’ – a postcard to a former lover revealing regrets and questions about why their relationship failed.

Recorded with the help of fellow country grrrls Sierrra Hull at the mandolin and Laney Jones at banjo and vocals, Washashore Cowgirl is a heartfelt introduction to Monica Rizzio both as a solo musician and as a person. The album is expected to be released on March 4th, but you can already pre-order it on PledgeMusic and stream it on Spotify.

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Country Grrrl to watch: Jadea Kelly

Travelling between Toronto and Nashville, Jadea Kelly has built an inimitable sound that blends the grit of folk and Americana with the roundness of indie-pop and blues-rock. The Canadian songstress has been making a name for herself in the folk world and, with the boundaries of country blurring, is now on her way to sway the East-Nashville scene.

Jadea Kelly’s sound is contemporary yet deeply rooted in tradition, and it’s this fragile balance that makes her stand out in the ocean of indie/multi-genre-inspired Nashville musicians. She affirmed her sonic identity in her first two records, Eastbound Platform and Clover, staying away from the stripped-down acoustic arrangements we usually hear in country music and choosing a more powerful production style.

“To be a songwriter is to be courageous, vulnerable, transparent, honest and uncensored” she says, and the delicacy of her voice and authenticity of her lyrics perfectly reflect this description. Singing about love, pain, and her family’s history of farming in contrast with her musician’s life, Kelly’s songwriting will not disappoint country purists. Nevertheless, like an edgier version of Lucie Silvas or a more avant-garde Lindi Ortega, Kelly’s music is worth listening to, whether you like folk, alt-country or indie-pop.

Jadea Kelly is already a stand-out in the folk world, but as the country scene evolves, her upcoming album – expected for spring 2016 – might very well arrive at the perfect time to introduce her music to the alt-country audience. In the meantime, the lucky ones will have the chance to enjoy her neo-folk sound live during her Canadian tour this February.

Picture by Jen Squires

 

 

‘Follow Me Moon’, an introduction to the delicate world of Mia Rose Lynne

Mia Rose Lynne is not your traditional Americana artist. Her music is gritty and poetic at the same time, indie and catchy, northern and southern-inspired. This juxtaposition of contradictions what makes her second album Follow Me Moon so unique and refreshing!

Each of the eleven tracks of Mia’s sophomore LP introduce us to a different facet of her songwriting style – quirky, oneiric, and brutally honest at times. Still, this collection of contrasting stories has a lot in common, from Mia’s ethereal vocals to their incredibly melodious tunes. But above all, it’s the album’s unconventional arrangements – a mix of bluegrass fiddles, jazzy cellos, Miranda Lambert-esque country guitars and indie-pop pianos – that unites these musical pieces into one coherent and captivating record.

We discover Mia’s powerful storytelling skills with ‘January’ and ‘Colorado’, two elegant scenery-based ballads that explore the complexities of relationships. On ‘Follow Me Moon’, childhood memories and oneiric images blend to broach the topics of life and death. This fantastic yet realistic universe, we continue to venture it crescendo with the melancholic ‘Not Just You and Me’ and the uplifting ‘Real Thing’.

The northern California-native then fully embraces the whimsicality of her songwriting with tracks like ‘I Like You a Real Lot’ and ‘Porcelain Doll’ – a playful track where accordion and jazzy piano create an old-Paris troubadour mood.

Quirky metaphors meet roots inspirations on Follow Me Moon as Mia Rose Lynne manages to create a unique aerial sound that blurs the lines between Americana, folk, and indie-pop.

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Shelly Colvin is taking over Americana one song at a time

Shelly Colvin has just released ‘I Want To’, the first single from her upcoming sophomore album Longshot. Blending Americana with east-Nashville’s alt-country, California’s folk and Alabama’s gritty bluegrass, ‘I Want To’ tackles the topics of regrets and lost love with a unique voice and sound.

Shelly Colvin is Nikki Lane’s partner in crime. The two share a love of Americana and often duet on each other’s records – this single included. But don’t misinterpret shared tastes for similar sounds. While Nikki Lane has been described as the misbehaving rebel child of Americana, Shelly Colvin’s sonic identity finds its root in more of a folksy aura.

‘I Want To’ reflects Colvin’s ability to create a unique old-fashion yet modern sound. Shelly’s haunting vocals and unpretentious style takes you to another era where 70s folk meets southern rock. The song depicts the aftermath of a breakup in an elegantly down-to-earth way, Colvin singing her regrets and struggle to move on: “And I wonder who is loving you / driving you down Pacific Avenue / like I want to”.

With her gender-bending sound and authentic songwriting style, Shelly Colvin is establishing herself as one of the best up-and-coming Americana artists, and ‘I Want To’ announces a promising LP – set to be released April 1st.

Miranda Lambert performs emotional ‘Scars’

Miranda Lambert held an unplugged concert at Nashville’s City Winery on January 20, and she took the opportunity to perform a brand new song, ‘Scars’. Actually, the song isn’t new at all since it was written seventeen years ago by Scotty Raye, Miranda’s guitarist.

‘Scars’ reflects the recent events occuring in her (love) life, and fits perfectly with Miranda’s trademark sound: half traditional half modern, but one hundred percent country!

‘Scars’ and ‘Sweet By And By’ – Lambert’s contribution to Dave Cobb’s Southern Family – announce a return to this sound she emphasized so much at the beginning of her career. A direction we cannot wait to hear more of on her next album, expected for 2016-2017.

Country Grrrl to watch: Dara Niemi

Very few young artists have managed to find the right balance between country and pop, and Dara Niemi is one of them. With a style inspired by Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, Niemi offers a modernized vision of country filled with multi-genre inspirations and catchy hooks!

The Georgia-native has been touring the south for a while now, promoting her first EP She’s Not Me and expanding her fanbase– which can be pretty tricky in the midst of such a huge pop-country trend. But Niemi stands out with her powerful vocals and her ability to cover all kinds of modern country, from love ballads to rock anthems.

Niemi’s EP She’s Not Me is packed with radio-material songs, from the powerful title track to the up-tempo ‘We Kissed’ that Taylor Swift could have written in her country times. We discover Niemi’s rock side with the electric guitar and gender stereotype puns of ‘Man in Men’. But the biggest surprise in this record remains the soulful ‘Disguise’, a languishing song that perfectly blends traditional country and Christina Aguilera RnB.

Dara Niemi’s sound successfully incorporates pop inspirations while keeping strong country roots, a balance we hope more up-and-coming country-pop artists will follow.

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