Just as her intensely energetic live performances connect audiences to the intricate tales woven through her lyrics, the ever-widening scope of Nora Jane Struthers' musicality means that placing a neat, easy label on the genre she best represents is virtually impossible.
In the video for "Let Go," the first release from her upcoming album, Wake, Struthers is cast as both a well-coiffed 1950s, Donna Reed-type housewife sipping cocktails, and as her contemporary self, examining the remains of a dilapidated old house. Although generations apart, the two characters are seemingly connected, especially by the vulnerability that's displayed throughout the clip.
"I am very interested in the ways we all perform identity based on perceptions of societal rules and ideals," Struthers tells Rolling Stone Country. "My director, Dycee Wildman, and I wanted to examine this phenomenon within historical contexts but it was especially important to make it relevant to our digital age."
Whether the musical background is steeped in old-time folk or bluegrass, as much of her previous work have been, or, like Wake, boasts a more evolved blend of roots and rock with plenty of fiddle and steel guitar, Struthers' lyrical vulnerability is matched by her growing confidence as a performer. Her 2013 release, Carnival, also recorded with longtime band, the Party Line, consists of story songs told from the perspective of complicated female characters young and old. That disc climbed into the Top Ten on the Americana airplay chart.
Wake is due February 24th via Blue Pig Music.