Out of the gate on Friday (March 1) with the song, “Ten Year Town,” Carnival Music writer Hailey Whitters squares her headspace since her last batch of new music, four years ago. Whitters has evolved, matured and diversified her sound on the forthcoming 2019 project The Dream, in harmony with Grammy-recognized collaborators Brandy Clark and Lori McKenna.
Waiting tables another month/Waiting for that break to come/All it’s ever done is break my heart/But I didn’t come this far to only go this far
That vulnerable lyric from “Ten Year Town,” come in anticipation from the complete album and encompass the vision the 12-year Nashville resident held, waiting for her turn to shine.
“I am blown away from the love and response from ‘Ten Year Town,'” said Whitters, at her album preview at Nashville’s The Basement. “I wrote the song with Brandy Clark when I was coming up on a decade of being in town and feeling a little lost and frustrated…I’ve racked in a lot of miles with these guys in our 15-passenger van and slept on a lot of shitty hotel floors…[but] I’m a firm believer that timing is everything. One thing I’ve learned is no matter what, you have to stay true to yourself, have an opinion and never forget why you came to Nashville in the first place.”
On Tues., March 5, Whitters bestowed those words on behalf of herself and her roadworthy slew of musicians in previewing seven new tracks from a forthcoming project. She co-produced them with BMG’s Jake Gear and currently controls the masters, which have been garnering label interest.
One of those songs may be familiar. Whitters takes the final turn as a songwriter in releasing her version of her McKenna co-write, “Happy People,” which of course was brought to country radio in 2017 by country superstar group Little Big Town. Similarly, Whitters has had mainstream success when Martina McBride recorded her solo-written “Low All Afternoon” and Country Music Hall of Fame member Alan Jackson released her, “The Older I Get,” as his first single since 2015.
Although “Ten Year Town” is immediately available, Whitters announced the first official single from the album will be “The Days,” a trance-inducing, breezy uptempo track that contemplates the value of hometown life experiences. “Dream, Girl” is a bright, driving anthem about keeping focus after life derailments, with a confidence-infusing play on words.
Within the record, Whitters displays a secure sense of self, leaning in to new, raw sounds and textures to translate the coming home. “When I’d given up on ever attaining “the dream”, [this album] showed me I was already living it,” Whitters posted online.
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I showed up a little lost, a little sad, a little jaded. Twelve years in a ten year town. You let me in, gave me whiskey, let me speak, let me sing, watched me fail, bummed me cigs, showed me songs, sent me back to wait tables, gave me chills, made me cry in the bathtub, drove me home, told the truth, turned off the click, got me here… when I’d given up on ever attaining “the dream”, you showed me I was already living it. So tomorrow when everyone gets to hear the first of your songs and decide whether its any good or not, just know you did a lotta good for me… and I got your back. ❤️
Also among the previewed tracks, “Heartland,” a two-stepper paying homage to her Iowan upbringing, and another play on words about settling within yourself by landing outside of life’s overstimulation.
Perhaps most unique is the mesmerizing “All The Cool Girls,” a pulsing rock-textured production of Hollywood night delirium. Echoed live with background vocals from Maureen Murphy, the edgy audio arrangement reflects the lyrics about how intoxicating a heart’s infatuation can be.
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