AUSTIN TRIO NOBODY’S GIRL DEMONSTRATES THE POWER OF THREE, BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN INDIE FOLK AND POP
American Songwriter debuted the video for new single “Tiger” at https://tinyurl.com/ycezdybr
The song and video are in sync with mixed emotions that exist now, during this pandemic.
Pettis says the band “wrote ‘Tiger’ for those of us trying to keep it together; keep our emotions and our “crazy” at bay, knowing we’re ‘just one reason away’ from losing that control … There are plenty of songs about getting angry and responding with aggression. And there are plenty of songs about taking it easy and not letting anything bother you. ‘Tiger’ is not either of them."
AUSTIN, Texas — “We always joke that it started out by accident,” offers singer-songwriter (and former Voice contestant) Rebecca Loebe when asked about the fortuitous aligning of stars that officially brought her and fellow Austin-based troubadours BettySoo and Grace Pettis together as Nobody's Girl. “Well, actually, Grace and I like to joke that we tricked BettySoo into being in a band with us ...”
BettySoo, sitting across the table from her two bandmates at a post-rehearsal Tex-Mex dinner, laughs at this, but Grace is quick to correct the record. “It’s not really a joke, though,” she insists with a mischievous grin. “It’s true!”
But why split hairs? Whether it was sparked by happy accident or some manner of sly master plan, the magic of that union was undeniable from the get-go. That three of the loveliest voices in Americana and contemporary folk music could complement each other so beautifully might have been a given, but it was the songs they wrote together — songs unlike any of them had ever or probably would ever write on their own — that really made Nobody’s Girl, well, sing.
“In a lot of ways, I think of Nobody’s Girl as a super fun project that lets us blow off steam, because it gives us a whole different channel to tap into," says Rebecca. “But most of all, I’m always really moved by the power of what we're able to access as a trio: just the power of three voices onstage together, carrying the same message.”
They’ve carried that message for the better part of two whirlwind years, playing more than a 100 shows together from Texas to Ireland in support of a 2018 EP, Waterline, and a handful of singles released late last year. But that “power of three” they share has never been stronger than it is now, and it’s captured like bottled lightning on the trio's strikingly assertive — and yes, striking fun, too — full-length debut: Nobody's Girl, releasing on digital, CD, and vinyl through Lucky Hound Music on February 5, 2021.
Recorded in September of 2019 and January of this year at Lucky Hound’s own state-of-the-art Studios at Fischer campus in the Texas Hill Country, the new album found Nobody’s Girl once again working with Michael Ramos, the Grammy-winning producer who helmed Waterline. The sessions also reunited — and expanded — the veritable dream team of Austin talent that played on the EP. “Michael brought in so many great players for this record, it’s kind of insane,” marvels Rebecca. In addition to Ramos on percussion and keyboards and the formidable rhythm section of bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummers J.J. Johnson and Conrad Choucroun, Nobody’s Girl features arguably the deepest roster of Texas guitar heroes this side of a classic Joe Ely or Arc Angels record: Charlie Sexton, David Grissom, and David Pulkingham.
Of course, as road-seasoned (and in the case of BettySoo and Rebecca, classically trained and Berklee educated, respectively) musicians themselves, BettySoo, Rebecca, and Grace can certainly hold their own with the best of the best; they’re a lean-and-mean touring trio with, as solo artists, more than 15 albums among them. But it’s the gorgeous sound of their voices, be they harmonizing as one or trading leads with the graceful, elegant precision of aerial silk dancers, that's clearly the main event. Well, that and the revelatory nature of the songs themselves. Lyrically, their co-writes can be as heavy and introspective as anything each of these three Kerrville “New Folk” winners have ever shared with a listening room or festival audience of serious Americana/folk fans. But the energy throughout the album leans decidedly more rock, with buoyant melodies and catchy choruses that often as not move the needle clear into the straight-up pop zone. It’s a disarmingly delightful turn that BettySoo playfully calls “bubblicious.”
“By that, I don’t mean that it’s flaky or light,” she explains, “because I think our songwriting instincts are all honed from the folk world. But I do think that the textures we tap into when we write together for Nobody's Girl are definitely more pop.”
“And, I don’t think there’s anything bad about that!” adds Grace. “I think for some people, ‘pop’ is almost like a dirty word — especially in a town like Austin that’s all about ‘serious’ music with integrity. But sometimes something fun is good in its own right. The kind of songs I want to write are the ones that have something to say, but that also make your foot tap and that you want to play really loud in your car and sing along to. And in a lot of ways, those songs are a lot harder to write, at least for me. But as a band, I think we are able to really do that sometimes. I don’t know what it is about the combination of our different backgrounds that brings that out, though, and it actually really surprised us when we started recording that EP two years ago. We were all going, like, ‘Oh, wow — these are pop songs!’”
The record features a cover of Carole King’s ‘So Far Away,” from 1971’s immortal Tapestry. Let’s just say the piano made them do it. As in the very same piano that King herself played on the original recording of “So Far Away” — and the whole rest of Tapestry, too. It was the same piano that was also used on Joni Mitchell’s Blue — and that now just happens to be proudly owned and homed by Studios at Fischer. And although it was actually Ramos, the producer, who played the piano on the album, just knowing that the instrument so prominently featured on two of the most iconic singer-songwriter records of all time can now be heard on their record, too, is a thrill in itself for all three women in Nobody’s Girl.
“I mean, we’re all fans of both of Tapestry and Blue, so for as long as we’ve known that that piano was there, we dreamed about recording a song from one of those albums,” says BettySoo. “We daydreamed about just letting that piano sing through one of those songs again — and about having an album that would be a vehicle for that to happen.”
Nobody's Girl, the album, is a testament to the power of three strong independent songwriters with three strong voices coming together as one, carrying their message along the beauty way with a "bubblicious" roar like nobody else.