There are few artists that can truly encapsulate the essence and true range of Americana like Muscle Shoals artist Hannah Aldridge, whose musical pedigree precedes her and speaks for itself.
Hannah Aldridge is the daughter of Alabama Music Hall of Famer Walt Aldridge, who is one of the most prolific songwriters of the modern musical era. Twice named by Billboard magazine as one of the Top Country Songwriters of the year, ASCAP Songwriter of the Year, and countless Number One and Top Ten hits recorded by the likes of Lou Reed, Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Earl Thomas Conley, Ricky Van Shelton, Ronnie Milsap, and Conway Twitty.
With sounds ranging from blues in the Mississippi Delta to the dusty, dixieland jazz sounds from New Orleans, the musical stylings of Muscle Shoals on up to the primitive roots of American Country music, Hannah Aldridge leaves no inspiration or influence untapped.
Royal Blue, the second album by East Nashville firebrand Lilly Hiatt, is about the majesty of melancholy—or, as she explains it, “accepting the sadder aspects of life and finding some peace in them.” A dance between pedal steel and synths, the album examines the vagaries of love and commitment but steadfastly refuses to romanticize any notion of romance. Singing in a barbed lilt full of deep worry and gritty determination in equal measure, she conveys emotions too finely shaded to be easily named, yet will be familiar to any listener who’s had their heart broken—or has broken a heart.
Setting the tone for the album, “Far Away” marries a shimmery Cure synth theme to a steady rock-and-roll backbeat, as Lilly explains the devastating realities of a love gone sour: “I have never felt more far away than when you were right here.” When she delivers a volley of ooo-ooo-ooohs on the coda, it’s hard to tell whether she’s lamenting her loss or proclaiming her freedom. Even at its most personal, Royal Blue remains complicated and often contradictory. The surging surf-country number “Machine” hints at rebellious adolescence while “Somebody’s Daughter” is a nod to Lilly’s songwriting father, John Hiatt