After a tough few years LEIGH NASH emerges with a country music album. Tony Cummings reports.
Someone of Facebook recently wrote that "Leigh Nash is perhaps best known as the pixie-like singer with the heavenly voice from Sixpence None The Richer." I'm not sure how the description sits with Leigh Nash but certainly she can hardly ever do an interview without someone mentioning the song "Kiss Me". Now, however, the 39 year old singer from New Braunfels, Texas has something new to talk about, namely her country-orientated album 'The State I'm In'.
It's been a tough period for Leigh. Rolling Stone wrote recently, "'Texas is bigger than I remember,' Nash sings, her voice as sweet as ever, but more adept now at using its dynamics to carry an undercurrent of subtle melancholy. Or maybe that's just from life experience. Nash grew up with country music, but she only recently felt she had weathered enough storms to properly approach the genre, particularly with her current balance of both joy and a heavy past: a happy marriage but a rough divorce, a beloved son but the loss of her father."
In 2011 Leigh released the 'Hymns And Sacred Songs' album but that now seems like a lifetime ago. She told Billboard, "I've done a lot of living between projects. So much has happened since then. I haven't led a completely peaceful life - not many people do. But, I had a lot of ups and downs which made for good subject matter for the album. It really came in handy. I've been wanting to make this record since I was 14, but I needed the life experience to do it."
Leigh co-wrote all 12 songs on 'The State I'm In'. The first single from the project, "Somebody's Yesterday", was co-written with Gerry House, the award-winning radio host and Nashville powerhouse who's crafted cuts for everyone from Reba McEntire to Brad Paisley. "I had said something to the effect of, 'When you are driving in Texas, the sky just goes on and on and it seems bigger when you go back.' [House] played this gorgeous opening line on the piano and there we had it. Going home never quite feels the same when you get older." Rolling Stone called "Somebody's Yesterday" "an ode to lost romance and the everlasting relationship with home, set to waltzing mariachi horns."
Nash found penning songs with other writers a satisfying experience. She said, "They met me exactly where my head was at as far as the kind of record I wanted to make. It's an uncommon kind of record and I'm thankful they were willing to spend the time with me to get it right - as far as the sound I was looking for."
Produced by Brendan Benson in Nashville, 'The State I'm In' features a set of players that includes Rayland Baxter (Nash's duet partner on "Dreaming Out Loud"), Steelism's Jeremy Fetzer (guest guitarist on "Doing It Wrong") and Lillie Mae Rische (fiddle playing throughout), the latter known for her work with Jack White. The co-writers all encouraged the singer to conjure up every corner of her Texan, country roots - a side that, according to Nash, was never missing. It was just a little latent. "I didn't have to tap into anything," she said, "because it never really left."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.