Hickman is at the far western point of Kentucky, on the Mississippi Delta. That’s where S.G. Goodman grew up before settling in Murray after college. She’s proud of her home state, and she has no intentions of leaving it for the bright lights of Nashville. She released her debut album, Old Time Feeling, during the summer of the pandemic. She also just released a cover of “Lungs” by Townes Van Zandt which was recorded in Muscle Shoals at FAME.
Katie Toupin left Houndmouth in April of 2016 and released her solo debut, Magnetic Moves, in 2019. She’s since learned a lot about herself and who she was all along; self-examination that was aided by sobriety, which Toupin has successfully maintained for four years now.
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see Allison Russell perform at the Third Man Blue Room for Nashville Forward, a project seeking a basic universal income in North Nashville. She was brilliant. But I knew she would be.
Earlier this year, she released her debut solo album, Outside Child. It’s brilliant. But I knew it would be. The Montreal native first began her career two decades ago. She eventually created Birds of Chicago before moving to Nashville where, in 2019, she formed Our Native Daughters with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Amythyst Kiah. The group is nominated for Duo/Group of the Year at this year’s Americana Awards, while Russell and Kiah are nominated for Emerging Act of the Year. Both will open a night of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s annual Ryman residency this October.
I watched American Aquarium open their summer tour at the Basement East a few weeks ago with Adeem the Artist. They’ll be opening some dates later on the tour, and they got to hear me scream-sing most of the catalog as a primer for the occasion. Everyone was there; it was Nashville’s main event for cool kids that evening. Adeem ran into comedian Drew Morgan, who told Adeem that he “liked his vibe.” Marcus King was there, so were Tyler Mahan Coe and Katie Pruitt. It was a lot of fun to be in a packed club with people watching live music again.
Andrew Bryant had a big year. He finally released what may or may not be the final Water Liars record with his longtime partner Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster in July of last year, and he also released his own fourth solo album, SentimentalNoises. But most importantly, he got sober, and that was a major influence on his fifth solo album, set to be released on Friday, A Meaningful Connection.
Poplarville, Mississippi isn’t near much of anywhere. It’s in that part of Mississippi you really have to be trying to find. Southwest of Hattiesburg; northeast of Biloxi. It’s a little over an hour to New Orleans, though, and that’s where Chapel Hart found their home.
The country trio released its’ debut in 2019, and since, its’ gotten a stamp of approval from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Things locked down shortly after the full length, but now, the girls are taking their show on the road, and they’ll make their way to Birmingham for the first time this holiday weekend.
Adam Sanders has been writing some of the biggest country radio songs you know for a while. He co-wrote “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” for Cole Swindell, the massive 2014 breakout hit for the latter. He also co-wrote a number one for Dustin Lynch, “Hell of a Night.” He’s spent the better part of a decade working Music Row, writing songs for Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Tyler Farr, among others. Now, at 32, he has a feeling he’s ready to do it on his own. What if he’s right?
Gabe Lee is 30 now, and for the most part, he’s spent all of that time in the town he was born: Nashville. His parents still live about a half hour away, and they’re “part of what keeps him there and part of what keeps him in line.”
“It’s been a huge blessing to have them here,” he says. “Especially last year, when everything was in flux. I couldn’t see them as much as I would have normally, but they were still within reach, which is comforting.”