Photo Credit: Gina DiMaio
Fresh off the road with The Hives and Spoon, Nicole Atkins shares a new version of her song, “Mind Eraser,” today. The shadowy noir song Rolling Stone called a “hazy dream,” was co-written by My Morning Jacket’s guitarist Carl Broemel. It comes from a milestone new album and full-length performance film called MEMPHIS ICE. The album arrives via Single Lock Records Friday, December 10 on limited-edition vinyl and at all DSPs and streaming services; pre-orders are available now. A reimagined companion project to last year’s acclaimed ITALIAN ICE, MEMPHIS ICE was recorded live and an official music video taken from the performance film is streaming now at YouTube.
“Mind Eraser was the first song we worked on for this record,” says Atkins. “I wanted to start the rehearsal with it because I thought stylistically it would be the most difficult song to get through, so, better to knock out the hard work first. The string arrangements got to shine through in a bigger way than on the original, Dan Chen’s piano work carried the song, and I got to play the role of the storyteller in a new way. More upfront and present than ever. And, I have to say, the middle section of the song is maybe my favorite moment on the whole album!”
The album was heralded last month by the first song and video, “Promised Land,” which was recorded during the Italian Ice sessions, but never released.
LISTEN TO “PROMISED LAND”
WATCH “PROMISED LAND”
Hailed by UNCUT as “clear-eyed, warm, and stylish,” ITALIAN ICE was among the best albums of 2020, its warmth, vivid color, and a tilt-a-whirl variety of musical grooves providing much-needed positivity in what proved a very difficult year. Unable to tour behind the album’s release, Atkins began hosting a variety show from her attic. “Live From The Steel Porch with Nicole Atkins” soon received support from Amazon Music, with new episodes shot at Asbury Park, NJ’s famed Paramount Theater with such special guests as Kurt Vile and the Dean Ween Group.
The back-to-basics performances inspired Atkins to explore new and previously untapped flavors in her vocals and songcraft. Backed by an ace trio of Dan Chen (piano), Laura Epling (violin), and Maggie Chaffee (cello), Atkins recorded MEMPHIS ICE live in one day at Memphis Magnetic studio, simultaneously filming the performance with painterly shadow and light. The stripped-down, smoky style of both brings all-new emotional vistas to fan-favorite songs like “Domino,” “Captain,” and “Forever,” while opening the door even wider to where Atkins would like to go next as a singer.
“I always thought about my Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli moment coming later in life,” she says. “But after we finished that day of recording, I had so much fun just singing and was so in the moment, I thought, ‘I want to do that sooner, I want to do that for my next record.’ I want to make a record of standards that are new if that’s possible. Songs that make you feel like you’re singing ‘Stardust,’ but you’re not. I kept thinking that on my first record, NEPTUNE CITY, the songs felt old, but they were new. Why can’t there be new songs that feel like the old standards?”
Indeed, that committed spirit of timeless songcraft has already earned MEMPHIS ICE praise from avowed Atkins fan Elvis Costello.
“Songs don’t stop living when the red light goes out,” says Costello.” “Pulling the colors and curtains from the studio versions of these songs, you find yourself within melodies and their emotions. Borne up by some beautiful playing from the small ensemble, this is some serious singing.”
To celebrate the release of her album, Atkins will also be presenting a global livestream event on December 10th at 9PM ET via the premium social live media platform Moment House. Tickets can be purchased here.
ON TOUR 2022
27-31 – Riviera Maya, MEX – Hard Rock Hotel & Unico **
18-25 – Miami, FL – Cayamo, A Journey Through Song
** The Avett Brothers At The Beach 2022