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.