CD Reviews

BARBARA NESBITT: Someday, Maybe Sooner

Country singer-songwriter Barbara Nesbitt has transplanted from SoCal to Austin, and follows up her 2017 release Right as Rain with a new album, Someday, Maybe Sooner. She is a strong vocalist whose sweet pipes can smoothly handle the plaintive ballads about betrayed love, then switch gears to fit comfortably in the pocket of more aggressive country-rock band spots—and most of the territory in between. She wrote all of the dozen new tunes, with fewer rock songs than Right, but the mid-tempo shuffles here are just as good at showcasing her crystal-clear songbird persona.

The Austin-based background crew are aces (prominent are Etan Sekons on guitars, dobro, and vocals; Jay Stiles on keyboards; and producer/recorder Rich Brotherton on multiple instruments and vocals). Nesbitt includes the lyrics on her website, and the project is full of moments to savor, starting with “That Kind of Love,” which chronicles the love of a pair who met in church and have spent 50 years together. “They know how to love and they know how to fight/ And they never miss a chance to dance on Monday.” It’s one of several songs here populated by interesting characters with riveting stories. The title tune is a slow song as Nesbitt uses high harmonies to relay a story about how she isn’t yet ready for a lifetime commitment to a lover-but might be before long.

Waltzes are a staple of country ballads and on “I Already Know” Nesbitt nails it, laying down the law to a wayward man, and recalling her tough-as-nails mother. “She hated being married, knows where all the bodies are buried/ And she thinks you’d fit right in.” For “100 Times,” Nesbitt is introspective about the ruins of a crumbled relationship, as she blames herself for being too optimistic but also places some of the responsibility on her partner. Another breakup ballad, “Where It All Ended,” follows with most of the same emotional message.

“Frostbite” is a mid-tempo ballad, as Nesbitt spells out her decision to exit a failed relationship, nice grand piano work and a real nifty step up key change three minutes in that adds power. “Nineteen years ago like a seed in the fallow/ You stole my soul in an olde sailor town,” the former San Diegan sings in “Anywhere You Go,” a brisk shuffle about her desire to pursue a lover to the ends of the earth. “Josephine” is another storyboard, about a school classmate who was the good looking rich girl who had all the boyfriends—except the one that fell for Nesbitt. It is propelled by smartly picked acoustic guitar, dobro, and banjo—a disc highlight buried deep in the set. The program wraps with a slower minor-chord tune, “Where Life Is,” yet another song built with organic harmonies, this time about the mysteries of existence, as she sings “I’m pretty sure the red gold and green/ Blooming in between what’s here and what’s to be/ That’s where life is.”

Barbara Nesbitt’s Someday, Maybe Sooner is delight, front to back.

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