Switching gears from the satanic (I’ve been listening to a lot of that new Ghost record lately) and moving across to the other side of Christianity, Leigh Nash has a new country record. Actually, much like her Sixpence None the Richer hits, none of these songs are overtly Christian, but I needed a creative digression.
Fuck, this record is good. Nash has a deep history with the Texas country music scene and as a result, has some serious country music chops. One might not immediately think of her voice as particularly country sounding, but it really is.
This record touches so many good parts of country music, from the western swing of Cruel Heart, to 70s ballads like Chicago and The Promise Break. But her Texas roots really show in her strait-up honky tonk/mariachi fusion of the title track: The State I’m In. In fact, there is plenty of subtle Latin-influenced horns and strings peppered throughout.
Nash has an uncanny knack for writing catchy hooks, which should be apparent from her mega-hits of the 90s, but this talent isn’t limited to pop. High Is Better would give George Jones and Johnny Paycheck a run for their money.
Stoner songs included, her writing is intelligent, mature, and her delivery exudes a vulnerable confidence that is quite endearing. The whole thing is really a joy to listen to.
Some other highlights are her enchanting harmonies (with herself) in the chorus of Tell Me Now Tennessee, the subliminally quite reprise at the end of Dreaming out Loud that is barely even there (it is and it’s a really beautiful touch)—even the album cover and its oilcloth-like color pallet is great.
Good writing, good performances, good taste; The State I’m In is a real gem.