Singer/Songwriter Natalie Hemby released her album Puxico back in January and it hasn’t left my playlist since I first heard it. Natalie may have just released her first studio album this year but she has been well within the music industry for a number of years and is one of country musics most celebrated songwriters. Natalie has written for and with some of biggest names in country music such as Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Sunny Sweeney and many more.
You can certainly see why Natalie has such a strong influence on Nashville country artists, in particular Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert. Her songwriting skills suit their style completely and thanks to Natalie, we have some of the greatest albums of all time right here in our niche genre of country.
I know that I am not alone when I say that I am so very happy that Natalie has released an album of her very own. A talent like hers needs to be heard as an individual not just through other artists and Puxico does exactly that. Puxico is a true representation of just how many astonishingly talented songwriters are out there who are also outstanding singers and performers. Every time I have heard a songwriters original version of a song other artists recorded, they have always been truly authentic, captivating and quite simply brilliant.
Puxico is possibly one of the best modernised traditional albums ever released and is one of the albums of the year for me so far. It has everything I love about music, great vocals, great songs both sonically and lyrically and it has so much class and style. My only criticism is that nine songs is just not long enough, we need more, however, those nine songs are individually stand out tracks that are solid, genuine and musically genius.
Natalie has such a naturally perfect, soulful voice that has so much depth and purity to it that she needs no accompaniment but of course her voice is happily complimented by the stunning melodies of each song.
The album as I previously mentioned has many traditional sounding songs and kicks off to a great start with Time Honoured Tradition which really sets the flow of the whole album. The key country instruments are really infectious in this song and it screams country music and country at its very best. I am back in Nashville the moment this song starts and I stay there for the duration of the album. I am sat in The Opry, I am walking down broadway and soaking up the sun with the honky tonks blaring country music, I am sat by the riverfront and I am eating my favourite dish at The Loveless Café.
With each song being stand alone fantastic it is hard to pick favourites but I do have certain ones that I cannot help but turn up the dial a bit more when they play. One being Time Honoured Tradition as described above.
Grand Restoration – which again has a strong traditional sound with a really catchy chorus and a country bluesy vibe to it.
Lovers On Display – This song really showcases Natalie’s vocals. Her range is really outstanding and she has a similarity to Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town which makes me really want to hear them sing together live. This song has a nice mid tempo, toe tapping beat and a gentle melody with a soulful chorus.
Cairo, IL – a whispery, dreamy down tempo song which is really calming and hauntingly beautiful. It has a breezy feel to it which is really relaxing.
This Town Still Talks About You – my absolute favourite off the album. I love everything about this song. The long lost feeling lyrics of missing someone and feeling left behind and not being able to fully move on really pull at your heart strings and the way Natalie sings in this song creates the melody rather than the instruments which is simply stunning.
I’ll Remember How You Loved Me – the lyrics to this song are clever, heartfelt, emotive and deep with a current of passional energy. The melody is almost melancholic in a spiritual way.
When the details turn to dust and the words get worn and frayed and the past is trapped in photographs till our last day , I’ll remember how you loved me.
Puxico is a wholehearted, breathtakingly good album with a collection of the most creative, poetic and exceptional songs ever written in the country music genre and possibly beyond.
Natalie deserves a lot of recognition which she is getting but I hope it continues to grow.
Natalie, please make your way to the UK soon, we would love to have you.
Puxico by Natalie Hemby