Nobody’s Girl is essentially the story of what happens when three award winning folk singers get together to make some songs for fun.
BettySoo (like Cher there is no need for a last name here….) Rebecca Loebe an Grace Pettis have all won the prestigious “New Folk” award at the Kerriville Folk Festival and the three kindred spirits decided that they’d be best served making sweet music together.
And, actually, sweet music is very much what “Waterline” contains.
It was a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” that got them noticed, but “Waterline” is a suggestion that they are fine songwriters too.
Containing four originals amongst its six songs – and actually they are the pick of the bunch – “Waterline” kicks off with one. And – I’ll be totally honest, it wasn’t what I was expecting either.
Given their backgrounds I have to confess I assumed that it was going to be some kind of Americana thing, acoustic and from the road, it isn’t. The opener “What’ll I Do” is as catchy as The Bangles, and as cool as Tom Petty. Rooted in the 1980s sound, but also indicative of a trio that relishes finding whatever trouble is going: “You’re not such a good idea, but I am pulling for it….” Offers the first line, but in fairness, the harmonies are so lush and gorgeous that you wouldn’t even notice the lyrics, more the sonics. Oh and this gets cowbell bonus points – always so much fun.
The title track has a bluesy flavour and I kept thinking of Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy” and how it would have sold millions twenty years ago. Again the harmonies, and this time the organ work, hide some sadness: “this is not where I thought I’d be right now” offers BettySoo over a song that Loebe wrote, and encapsulates the vibe brilliantly.
Indeed it is striking how many different sounds that the tracks manage to find. “Queen City” is almost jazz, and there is a sense of longing here to match what appears a key lyric of “no matter what you’re running from” and the solo here gives things a real New Orleans feel.
“Riding Out The Storm” is much more the sort of folky stuff I imagined it would be, but even here its proof that they’ll do it on their terms. There is a pop tinge here that surely is set for a mainstream shot. It deserves one anyway.
The covers are interesting too. “Bluebonnets” is a fragile, acoustic thing written by a friend of theirs, Raina Rose, and if you might not be familiar with that one, you’ll certainly know the other. Blondie’s “Call Me” has never sounded more sultry than it does here – and that is no mean feat, and this playful side is also right to the fore on the second version of “What’ll I Do” that is included and shows that a great song is a great song even when its stripped down to the basics.
It will be interesting to see how Nobody’s Girl develop in the future. This is a fine start, and shows that far from being Nobody’s these girls could belong to everyone.