"It’s kinda strange but two of my best friends and great singers liked the same song: Alecia Nugent and George Jones. Both recorded THE
OLD SIDE OF TOWN: two of my favorite records. I’m not taking sides but one is better looking than the other one." - Tom T. Hall
“I have made no secret of my deep affection for this artist, so her re-emergence as a record maker has me tossing my hat in the air. Alecia Nugent has a voice that was born to blend with fiddle and steel
guitar. In fact, every note that comes from her throat sounds like country-music instrument. Alecia Nugent deserves your heartiest applause. She already has mine. Forever.”
- Robert K. Oermann, MusicRow
Alecia Nugent is the definition of “real” country music and sings it the way it was intended...with honest songs about genuine people in a time when we are all aching for something “authentic.” - Jerry Salley, SESAC writer of the year
THE OLD SIDE OF TOWN Released: September 18, 2020
IBMA and SPBGMA award-winner and former Rounder Records artist Alecia Nugent returns from a 10-year recording hiatus, breaking new ground and firmly claiming a place in the Country music landscape with THE OLD SIDE OF TOWN.
The 10-track offering, produced by Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band, Billy Ray Cyrus), is available for pre-order by clicking here. The disc highlights Alecia’s Country roots and showcases the “heart and soul” voice that she effortlessly brings to the mic. Alecia’s songwriting skills are also on display; a talent nurtured by her mentor/employer, Tom T. Hall. Songs by world-class tunesmiths Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Kevin Denney, Erin Enderlin, Brandy Clark, Keith Stegall, Roger Murrah, Paul Craft and Hall are included – and Nugent proves she wields an equally pointed pen with five co-writes on the album.
From the title track, written by Hall, Alecia shines. There is a sadness shadowing the message, and Nugent owns it, just as she capably embraces and then releases heartache on “Sad Song.” She explores the different types of breakups with the lighthearted “I Thought He’d Never Leave,” the shatteringly vulnerable “The Other Woman,” and the end-of-the- road resignation of “I Might Have One Too.” Loss is given its due on two standout tracks: the album’s first single release, “They Don’t Make ‘em Like My Daddy Anymore,” and “Way Too Young For Wings.” Nugent proves her versatility with the upbeat “Too Bad You’re No Good” and the two-step delight, “Tell Fort Worth I Said Hello.”
As producer Stegall notes, “Alecia sings songs born from real life struggles: love ... loss, and redemption. And when she sings it, you believe it.”
MUSICIANS Brent Mason – Electric Guitar Tommy Harden – Drums Bobby Terry – Acoustic Guitar Gary Prim – Keyboards Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass Stuart Duncan – Fiddle, Mandolin Rob Ickes - Dobro Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar Dan Dugmore – Steel Guitar Wes Hightower – Background Vocals
Produced by Keith Stegall Recorded by John Kelton at The Castle Recording Studio (Franklin, TN) Assisted by Travis Humbert
Additional Recording by John Kelton and Travis Humbert at The Sound Station and Wedgewood Sound (Nashville, TN) Mixed by John Kelton at Wedgewood Sound and The Sound Station (Nashville, TN) Mastered by Glenn Meadows at Mayfield Mastering (Nashville, TN)
Production Coordinator: Jason Campbell
I wanted to cut one of Tom T’s songs because he’s like family to me and this is one of my favorites. I also thought it would be neat to do this one because the title ties into the style of music played on this project. Lots of fiddle and steel which we don’t hear on mainstream radio anymore. You can still hear it on “The Old Side of Town".
I love the way this song was written lyrically because anytime a single hook line means two or more different things, a song has arrived. It also cries the way a country sad song is supposed to. To me this song says, “hello country music, where have you been.” Then, add Paul on steel and Stuart on fiddle and what you get is country-fried country music on steroids.
A tribute to my daddy who passed July 1st, 2013. When I was 12 years old, my dad would call me out on stage with his bluegrass band to sing “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn. The bond between a daddy and daughter grew stronger and it was just the beginning of many songs we’d sing together. Then 20 years later, my debut on the Opry happened, and I asked my daddy to stand beside me once again to sing harmony. That was the moment that inspired this song.
This song is in memory of Tyler Deville. Tyler was special to all of my family, and he was one of those kids that touched many hearts in our little community. But to my baby girl, he was her first love...her high school sweetheart. Sadly, at the age of 21, his life was taken in an accident. He was way too young for wings. RIP Tyler. We love and miss you.
I was writing with Larry Cordle and Kevin Denney, and I told them I wanted to write a good old country shuffle. Kevin said he was talking to a Texan after a show one night and the words “tell Fort Worth I said hello” came out of his mouth as they were walking away. He thought it was a good song title, and so did we.
This song was pitched to me by Matt Lindsey and Melanie Howard. Before they played the song, Melanie told me I had to listen all the way to the end before deciding if I liked the song or not. It reminded me of a moment in a movie, where the plot takes a twist, and it feels like someone sucker punches you at the end. Besides, every country record has to have a cheating song.
What a fun song to sing! It’s funny, it’s upbeat, and girls like me can certainly relate. I'm a country girl from a small town so the line "38 special on a 45 frame" is where this song got me. I'm all about a sad song, but I guess after listening to Reba for so many years, I enjoy a little sass every now and then.
I had the privilege of writing this with Roger and Keith. This song is very personal for me, like opening a window to my soul. Years ago, Mr. Tom T. Hall said, “Alecia, this is just another chapter in that book you’re going to write someday." Instead of a book, it’s just another sad song.
It’s a funny story how this song came to be. It was my first time meeting and writing with Roger Murrah. Keith introduced us, the three of us were chatting, getting to know one another...asking if anyone had a song idea, a hook line, or something when suddenly Keith got a call and walked out of the room. Roger said jokingly, “I thought he’d never leave!” I laughed and then said, “I think we found our song title.”
Alecia Nugent Biography
Alecia Nugent is embracing her roots in classic country on The Old Side of Town, her first collection of new music in 11 years. Already familiar to bluegrass fans through three albums on Rounder Records, Nugent turned to producer Keith Stegall and a number of Nashville’s most accomplished studio musicians for The Old Side of Town – where the fiddle and steel guitar are perfectly matched to Nugent’s emotional vocals, original songwriting, and hard-won perspective.
“Country plays just as much of a role in the way I sing as bluegrass does,” she says. “I grew up listening to old country music and I grew up listening to bluegrass. And I’ve always wanted to do a classic country record.”
A native of Hickory Grove, Louisiana, Nugent absorbed the country and bluegrass music of her father Jimmy Nugent’s group, the Southland Bluegrass Band, which he launched the same year she was born. Sitting around the piano, her parents also taught Nugent and her two older brothers how to sing Southern gospel songs and bluegrass harmony. As a kid, she was a natural on stage and got hooked on the applause; she stepped into the role of lead singer in her late teens.
An independently recorded album led to a contract with Rounder Records, yielding three albums between 2004 and 2009. Blessed with a strong, persuasive voice, she relocated to Nashville, earned multiple industry nominations, and appeared 71 times on the Grand Ole Opry, including once with her dad. But in 2009, she took a break from touring to focus on being a mom after a divorce.
“I certainly did not mean to take 10 years off,” she says. “I went back home thinking I would be there to raise my girls and figure out a way to continue making music from Louisiana.”
However, those ambitions faded when she found out her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. She remained in Louisiana to put her family first, taking jobs like selling luxury cars (which suited her as a self-described “people person”) and working for a small local newspaper. After her father’s death and all three of her daughters leaving the nest, Nugent decided to pick up where she left off and returned to Nashville.
“Looking back on the last 10 years away from the music, I feel like I’ve grown up -- personally, spiritually, and vocally,” she says. “I still try to sing with volume, when I need to. It’s how my daddy taught me. But not all songs can be delivered the same way. It’s about emotion, not volume.” With a laugh, she adds, “Daddy, if you’re listening, don’t blame me, life turned me this way!”
Remarkably, Nugent has retained the range and power of her voice from a decade ago and she still possesses a knack for choosing material, particularly the title track written by Tom T. Hall. That song is also an homage to Hall and his late wife, Dixie, who offered Nugent a housekeeping job on the spot when she first moved to town, just as long as she’d promise to put her music career first.
“They understood when I needed to take off on a Thursday or Friday, to play on the weekends. And then come Monday I was right back at work,” Nugent recalls. “I’m one that has to stay busy and has to be working all the time, so it worked out perfectly.”
The Halls guided her early attempts at songwriting, and with further encouragement from Stegall, she took it upon herself to try co-writing. Some of the songs draw from real life, like “They Don’t Make ‘em Like My Daddy Anymore” and the heartbreaking “Way Too Young for Wings,” composed after her daughter’s boyfriend was killed in a truck accident at 21 years old.
Nugent says she can hear the sadness while listening to The Old Side of Town, and in fact, one of the tracks is titled “Sad Song.” She explains, “I can’t say that every song in there is about my life, but a lot of it is. It’s an album full of life, it’s an album full of death, and it’s all the brokenness in between.”
Yet there’s also a sense of humor on “I Thought He’d Never Leave,” and the breakup songs are not always what they seem, as in “The Other Woman” and “I Might Have One Too.” In addition, “Too Bad You’re No Good” gives Nugent a chance to show her versatility with an upbeat song, which could go bluegrass or country. And throughout the project, she gives the musicians, including fiddler Stuart Duncan, guitarist Brent Mason, and steel player Paul Franklin, a chance to shine too.
“I think growing up in bluegrass, you have a little more appreciation for instrumentation,” she says. “I’ve always heard it said that bluegrass is a musician’s music, you know? Growing up that way, I appreciate those guys and what they do. They’re putting their talents forward as much as I am.”
While The Old Side of Town is a departure from her bluegrass albums, it isn’t a stretch to hear Nugent singing these classic country songs. She cites Merle Haggard and Reba McEntire as her greatest influences, and with one listen to the country shuffle “Tell Fort Worth I Said Hello,” it’s clear that Ray Price and Connie Smith are on that list of heroes, too.
Asked what she’d like her bluegrass fans to know about The Old Side of Town, she replies, “That it’s still me. We may have changed some instrumentation on this record, but the songs are still songs about life. I’ve always gone down that road. I’ve always tried to pick songs that are meaningful, and songs that people can relate to. I hope they don’t judge the fact that there is no banjo and that there’s a lot of steel guitar. I think for the most part, most people who enjoy bluegrass music are also interested in classic country, so this record’s just me, letting my roots show.”
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