Leigh Nash The State I'm In on LP + Download
More than two decades into her acclaimed career, Leigh Nash shines a light on her Texas roots with The State I'm In. Produced by Grammy winning Brendan Benson, the new solo record finds Nash putting a modern spin on the sounds she heard as a young girl in the Texas Hill Country, mixing together the classic country of Willie Nelson, the sweeping pop of Roy Orbison and the mariachi influences of nearby Mexico.
"I've been wanting to make this record since I was 14, but I needed the life experience to do it," says Nash, who co-wrote all 12 of the album's songs, including two with her friend Gerry House. "It's my own version of the music I grew up on, with an emphasis on hooks and melodies and heartbroken lyrics. I tried to get Flaco Jimenez on this record. His sound is the embodiment of much of the vibe I tried to capture, and I think we got it! But I still want Flaco to play on any and everything I do from here on out."
From breakup ballads and drinking songs to lushly orchestrated Americana tunes, The State I'm In casts a wide net. "What's Behind Me" even tips its hat to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows." However, this isn't the first time Nash has reached across different genres with her music. As the lead vocalist of Sixpence None the Richer, she rolled pop, folk and gospel influences into hit songs like "Kiss Me" and "There She Goes." Her solo career, which kicked off in 2006, has been similarly diverse, taking listeners on a journey through classic hymns and electronica.
With The State I'm In, Nash rolls a recent brush with bad luck - including the amicable hiatus of her longtime band, a death in her family and a divorce - into songs that find the beauty in heartbreak. Recorded in Nash's adopted hometown of Nashville, where she has lived since 1996, it also features some of the city's most notable up-and-comers, including fiddle player Lillie Mae Rische (Jack White), pianist Micah Hulscher (Emmylou Harris), harmony group Street Corner Symphony and solo artist Rayland Baxter. Singer Emily West makes an appearance as a co-writer, and John Mark Painter (of the duo Fleming and John) lends his talents on trumpet.
"It isn't a throwback record," Nash says - though you'll likely pick up on her musical influences, including Jim Reeves, Dottie West, Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, Brian Wilson and Ry Cooder - "and we weren't afraid of going beyond the country genre. We just went where the songs told us to go. And they took us to some great places."