And now from the land of roadrunners, jumping cactus, the steady drone of cicadas, and mirages that look like water in the desert sun, we have Lucy Billings. She grew up in the hot Arizona heat, but as a youngster she spent time in Wyoming riding horses and learning to play the guitar.
She released her debut album, Open Air, in 2006, but country music remained her secondary occupation until she was fired from her job during 2009.
She had written a number of new songs and approached Mary Chapin Carpenter’s producer and instrumentalist John Jennings about producing her new release. He agreed and during the summer she traveled to his studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, to record her new album. The result, No Other Road, will be released during early 2011.
She provides the vocals, acoustic guitar, and wrote all the tracks. John Jennings provides some electric guitar, piano, bass, and percussion. They are joined by pianist John Carroll, pedal steel guitarist Lloyd Maines, drummer Robbie MacGruder, mandolin player Brent Truitt, fiddle player Stuart Duncan, and background singers Terry Allard, Deb Thacker, and Mira Wooten.
She is a country artist pure and simple. Her vocals are clear and can soar when necessary and create an intimate feel when required. Her songs are well constructed and retain a melodic nature. The lyrics tend to be personal as she draws upon various experiences from her personal life journey. They run the gamut from gentle ballads to upbeat offerings.
“Daddy’s Last Drive” is a wonderful tribute to her father. He died while driving his car, but there was no accident as it came to a gentle stop in a meadow. On the other hand, “Let’s Not and Say We Did” is a tribute to the child rearing expertise of her mother. “Rear View Mirror” is a look back and adjusting to the loss of job and love. The album’s title comes from a line in “Blue Highway,” as she sings about remaining true to herself and her own standards.
Lucy Billings has created a charming album of personal reflections concerning her life’s twists and turns. Hopefully, No Other Road, will garner enough attention and sales so that she can leave her day job behind.
Article first published as Music Review: Lucy Billings – No Other Road on Blogcritics.