Thu – The Writer’s Share Presents: Leigh Nash, Jay Knowles, Stephen Wilson
More than two decades into her career, singer-songwriter Leigh Nash shines a light on her Texas roots with The State I’m In, a solo album that plants its feet on both sides of the border.
Nash was raised in the Texas Hill Country, where the radio stations played country music and the small towns rang with mariachi bands. A shy kid, she built up her confidence by learning how to sing. Nash began by impersonating the artists she heard on the FM dial — with particular emphasis on Tanya Tucker and Patsy Cline — before graduating to her own gigs at the age of 13, when she began singing with a country band during a series of weekly shows in New Braunfels. Within a few years, she’d also joined a band called Sixpence None the Richer, serving as the group’s pixie-voiced vocalist during a successful run that included Top 5 hits like “Kiss Me.”
Kicking off her acclaimed solo career in 2006, Nash has spent the past decade exploring everything from folk to electronic music. The State I’m In marks a return to her days in the Lone Star State, though, with Nash whipping up a combination of Texas twang, Tejano, orchestral pop hooks and heartbroken lyrics. In classic country style, she sings about heartache and bad luck in a voice that swoons, sweeps and swaggers, backed by a band whose members include Wanda Jackson’s pianist, Jack White’s fiddle player and award-winning a cappella group Street Corner Symphony. If The State I’m In sounds like a country album, though, it’s a wide-ranging, left-of-center, classic country album, with songs that tip their hat to the past while still moving forward toward something new. Looking for a fellow rule-breaker who wouldn’t mind pushing the envelope, Nash turned to Grammy-nominated musician Brendan Benson, who co-wrote one of the songs and produced the entire record.
Jay Knowles was born in Texas, raised in Tennessee and educated in Connecticut. Over the last 20 years, his songs have been recorded by classic singers like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack and Harry Connick, Jr. as well as today’s hottest Country stars like Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and David Nail. Also, Raffi.
Jay’s professional honors include Number One songs on multiple charts, a BMI Million Air Award, and a Grammy nomination for Country Song of the Year.
Stephen Wilson is a singer/songwriter from rural Southern Indiana. Wilson was raised by a single father who was a boxer and had Stephen boxing at age 7 until he was 20 when he fought in the Golden Gloves. Wilson, a self-taught guitarist, then moved to Nashville to attend Middle Tennessee State University – and to be near the middle Tennessee music scene. After finishing his degree in Microbiology at MTSU, Stephen co-founded indie rock band AutoVaughn. He toured for over 5 years as lead guitarist and co-wrote songs for the band until his creative direction began to focus more exclusively on songwriting and singing.
After leaving AutoVaughn, Wilson began working as a scientist until he signed a publishing deal as a staff songwriter with BMG Nashville in Aug 2016. Since then, Stephen has been building his catalogue and writing with notables such as Craig Wiseman, Brett James, Jeffrey Steele, Travis Meadows, Radney Foster, Tony Lane, Caitlyn Smith, Lucie Silvas, Wynn Varble, and Steve Bogard.
Wilson plays a late-70’s gut-string acoustic almost always and his influences are Bruce Springsteen, The National, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Phil Collins and Phoenix.