Occasionally, an act blasts out of nowhere like a rocket and crashes, skidding, tumbling, finally grinding to a stop in the living room of my musical mansion. Does that make sense? See, I have this image of my musical world as a big house and there are lots of rooms. There’s a jazz room (which has a big leather chair and lots of dark wood and several ash trays) and there’s a classic rock room (which has got all kinds of hip furniture and psychedelic wall paintings and artifacts from my childhood) and a techno room (where I spend a LOT of time) and I’m always adding on rooms and taking out walls and smearing spackle here and there. And yes, every day the doorbell rings and it’s some new band or old band and they’ll come in, set up and play for a while and I’ll tell them to go into a room and wait for me there. Very simple process.
But as I said sometimes there’s no doorbell or polite knock (or subtle sneaking in through the kitchen window as all three of the Wailin Jennys did last month) but an act comes crashing through the front door without invitation and sets everything into a tizzy for a few days while cleanup happens.
All this is a wordy and unnecessarily elaborate way of describing the kind of excitement that the new album by Jersey girl Nicole Atkins has generated over here at the Sixsquare mansion. It’s intimate and personal yet imbued with a kind of orchestral Roy Orbison sweep that has a way of sounding positively massive. She’s got a powerful voice to match the bombast, as you’ll hear in today’s selections (I couldn’t decide on just one) and a soaring sense of melody that somehow conveys a sense of nostalgia. Perhaps it’s her arrangements, or in fact, her lyrics, which are both wistful and vivid and managed to massage their way under my skin with little effort.
She’s got major label backing (you can tell by her ponderous website) and a vote of confidence from Rolling Stone, so it’ll be interesting to see how she gets trotted out in the next several months.
Check out her stuff. We’ve got to finish repairs on the front door.
(above photo taken by Jeremy Balderson, by the way.)