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You Gotta Hear This: New Music From Nina de Vitry, Paper Wings, and More

Jan 19, 2024

You Gotta Hear This: New Music From Nina de Vitry, Paper Wings, and More

This week, BGS readers enjoyed track and video premieres from artists like Appalachian up-and-comer Colby T. Helms, jammy bluegrass string band Armchair Boogie, a full album preview from Clay Parker and Jodi James, a tender and heart-wrenching From ONE to Tenn. performance by Jaimee Harris, and many more.

Below, you’ll find each of our premieres from throughout the week, plus enjoy exclusive, brand-new songs from artists and musicians like Nina de Vitry, Paper Wings, Jesse Lynn Madera, Billy Gilman featuring Rhonda Vincent, The Coal Men, and more.

You Gotta Hear This!

Nina de Vitry, “If We Didn’t Have Night”

Artist: Nina de Vitry
Hometown: Born in Lancaster Pennsylvania, based in Nashville, Tennessee
Song: “If We Didn’t Have Night”
Release Date: January 26, 2024

In Their Words: “‘If We Didn’t Have Night’ was recorded during the creation of my recently-released, debut, full-length album, What You Feel Is Real. Though it echoes a similar theme of optimism to many of the songs on the album, I realized that it didn’t sonically belong in the collection and instead begged to be a standalone single. The song explores new territory in my songwriting journey, celebrating some of my deepest musical roots like old-time and country. At the time that I wrote it, I was listening to a lot of Dolly Parton and wanted to attempt to write a chorus inspired by her melodies. What ensued was a lively tune that called for some fiddle, pedal steel, and a two-stepping feel. I hope that it may uplift those who listen and help to keep the winter blues at bay!” – Nina de Vitry

Paper Wings, “Is It True”

Artist: Paper Wings
Hometown: Wila Frank – Nashville, Tennessee via Summit, Oregon; Emily Mann – Big Sur, California
Song: “Is It True”
Album: Listen to the World Spin
Release Date: January 18, 2024 (single); March 15, 2024 (album)
Label: Paper Wings Music, distributed by Free Dirt Records

In Their Words: “‘Is It True’ is our love letter to the hard-working, gritty, capable folks in our lives. Em and I both grew up in rural places around people who truly respect nature and the satisfaction that comes from a hard day’s work, out in the elements. After living in cities, we realized our modern-day culture often fails to celebrate physical labor and the strength of character that comes along with it. We thought it would be fun to shine a spotlight on some of the trademarks of a real hard-working character in a song. ‘Is It True’ is about the allure of someone who isn’t afraid to get their hands in the dirt. The more the world tries to sell us shiny new things, the more we appreciate the well-made, the well-worn, the well-loved.” – Wila Frank

The Coal Men, “Black Cat”

Artist: The Coal Men
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Song: “Black Cat”
Album: Everett
Release Date: January 19, 2024 (single); March 29, 2024 (album)
Label: Vaskaleedez Records

In Their Words: “Some folks are magnetic but, ultimately, nothing but trouble. ‘Black Cat’ is a swampy-groove song about that kind of dangerous friend. Drummer Dave Ray got a great snare sound going with a cymbal on top of the drum to mimic an 808 drum machine. Paul Slivka’s thumb-strike bass is doubled with low octaves played by piano tuner Lane Kiefling. I’m playing a short-scale baritone telecaster with flat wound strings and when the fuzz solo comes around, I really tried to be violent with the panning in the mix to make a listener’s head spin. This song is a joy to feel, play, and sing. I hope it’s got a bit of Tony Joe White in my vocal delivery to drive home the ‘thin grin’ humor of the song and warn folks to stay away from that type of crazy.” – Dave Coleman

The Lucky Ones, “Since the Farm Got Sold”

Artist: The Lucky Ones
Hometown: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Song: “Since The Farm Got Sold”
Album: A Nickel For The Fiddler (EP)
Release Date: January 19, 2024

In Their Words: “We wanted to pay homage to our roots with this EP, so that’s why we went with the title A Nickel For The Fiddler. It’s also a Guy Clark song, someone who’s a huge inspiration to us – along with Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley and Rodney Crowell. So it’s a bit of a tip-of-the-cap to that circle of songwriters, but more so it’s an homage to our friend and mentor, Joe Loutchan, who had a residency at the ’98 Hotel in Whitehorse up until his passing in 2021. We needed to include a traditional fiddle tune for him, although that led to us add another medley of traditional fiddle two-step tunes. Why stop at one, right?

“The story behind ‘Since The Farm Got Sold’ has taken on greater meaning when we found out that the farmhouse where we recorded the EP was once the home of my great-grandfather and the property was once his farm. The house has had minor renovations to make the building work as a recording studio. However, it has been largely untouched and left with that vintage farmhouse appeal. It was profound – truly a spiritual experience – being in there. It was like stepping into a time machine, visiting with ghosts, and sharing songs and stories with the ancestors.” – Ryan James West, mandolin & vocals

Jesse Lynn Madera, “Austin”

Artist: Jesse Lynn Madera
Hometown: Currently based in Los Angeles, California
Song: “Austin”
Album: Speed of Sound
Release Date: January 19, 2024 (single); March 16, 2024 (album)
Label: Big Fat Dress

In Their Words: “When I was a teenager growing up in Houston, I used to sneak off some weekends to go hang with a guy who was in veterinary school at Texas A&M. This song is about when that rush of lust meets the thrill of the road. I replaced Houston with LA, because it sings and rhymes more easily. I tracked this song three times, in three ways, trying to nail the groove. My friend John ‘JT’ Thomas (Bruce Hornsby) played keys on the final product. I was blown away by the energy he brought to the track. Brian Whelan (Dwight Yoakum) sang harmony and played electric guitar, including the solo.” – Jesse Lynn Madera

Billy Gilman, “That’s Bluegrass To Me” (featuring Rhonda Vincent)

Artist: Billy Gilman
Hometown: Westerly, Rhode Island
Song: “That’s Bluegrass To Me” featuring Rhonda Vincent
Album: Roller Coaster 
Release Date: January 19, 2024 (single)
Label: Pinecastle Records

In Their Words: “This song is personal to me, because I wrote about a grandmother in the first verse sitting on her front porch listening to the Osborne Brothers. That grandmother represents my own grandmother, who used to sit in her house and listen to bluegrass music. That is where I first heard it. That is such a fond memory for me, and now it can live on in this song.” – Billy Gilman

Jaimee Harris, “Orange Avenue” for From ONE, to Tenn.

Artist: Jaimee Harris
Hometown: Born in Nacogdoches, Texas; Raised in Hewitt, Texas; Living in Nashville, Tennessee
Song: “Orange Avenue”

In Their Words: “My partner, Mary Gauthier, was given an incredible writing residency in Key West for the entire month of January 2022. We often tour together, so I decided I’d take the time of solitude to search for songs. I started my search in the panhandle of Florida and spent a month driving down to Key West. Every two to three days I traveled to a different town, collected stories, visited fascinating museums, explored the variety of Florida’s natural beauty, and wrote a song in every town I visited.

“I did not plan to stop by Pulse Nightclub, but I found myself there alone at night. The first thing that struck me about Pulse was its location. I imagined it would be located in a nightlife district, but that is not the case. I was surprised to find it standing at the end of Orange Avenue, across from a Dunkin’ Donuts – the only two businesses on a street lined with houses. Pulse was a queer-friendly club, but it was also a neighborhood bar. The entry age was 18, so there were plenty of teenagers who hung out at Pulse simply because it was a friendly place where they could dance without having to be 21 to enter.

“The second thing that struck me was a plaque that listed 48 names of those who were killed on June 12, 2016. The third thing I noticed was a block of text that read, ‘We honor the 49 angel birthdays by placing angel wings next to their name. You are always in our hearts.’ If there were 49 killed, then why were only 48 names listed? I then noticed a plaque that said, ‘Out of respect for the family’s wishes, a victim’s name has been kept private…'” – Jaimee Harris

Read more here.

Colby T. Helms, “Mountain Brandy”

Hometown: Boones Mill, Virginia
Song: “Mountain Brandy”
Album: Tales of Misfortune

In Their Words: “I am delighted my original song ‘Mountain Brandy’ is being featured on BGS. This song has been a local fan favorite for years. I wrote the song when I was 16 as a response to seeing my way of life disappearing around me. As a Franklin County, Virginia native, moonshine history and culture have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Over the years, family and friends have passed on, leaving behind a legacy and culture that I plan to keep alive. I wrote this song in honor of the culture, tradition, and landscape that has inspired me to pursue my passions. I hope that the fans of BGS identify with this tune and cherish it the way I have.” – Colby T. Helms

More here.

The Glass Hours, “Same Old You”

Artist: The Glass Hours
Hometown: Red Hook, New York
Song: “Same Old You”

In Their Words: “‘Same Old You’ started out as a straightforward observation of how hard it can be to change, even when we keep hitting the same proverbial wall. It then evolved into a diary of sorts about life on the road as a musician. As is often the case, the monetary yield of creativity turns out to be much slimmer than the soul yield. But in the end, we make art because we’re called to the process, and that’s really the spirit of the album.” – Megan Barbera

More here.

Clay Parker & Jodi James, Your Very Own Dream

Artist: Clay Parker & Jodi James
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Album: Your Very Own Dream

In Their Words: “We set out to make this record in early 2020, but things got a bit trivial then. However, we came out of the pandemic with some new ideas on how to approach these songs. Exploring the dynamics of two electric guitars sitting together against starkness was an exciting exploration for us and capturing that became our new focus. As for the songs, we didn’t really lean on any notions of genre; the stories themselves aren’t strictly linear. There are moments of bitter tenderness and some of flat-out absurdity – these songs are from those crossroads. Your Very Own Dream is equal parts plaintive folk existentialism, blue-note bluster, prairie-fire idealism, and fever dream ballad. It’s a raw representation of us searching for and finding a new sound.” – Clay Parker & Jodi James

Armchair Boogie, “Gone in a Day”

Artist: Armchair Boogie
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Song: “Gone in a Day”
Album: Hard Time & Deadlines

In Their Words: “In my experience, some of the best songs are written to completion (or almost) within a few hours of starting. That’s what happened with ‘Gone in a Day.’ When you feel strongly about the subject matter, ideas tend to flow with far less second guessing. There was no rush, but all the feelings, words, and melodies were at the ready. It also didn’t take long at all to think of adding in our friend Jeremy Garrett on the fiddle to take it to new heights. We think it’ll be just as smooth a listen as it was to put together.” – Ben Majeska

More here.

Photo Credit: Nina de Vitry by Joseph Ross; Paper Wings by Sarah Kathryn Wainwright.

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You Gotta Hear This: New Music From Nina de Vitry, Paper Wings, and More
You Gotta Hear This: New Music From Nina de Vitry, Paper Wings, and More