Chely Wright, who has been largely out of the music spotlight for the past five years, will release her first new album since 2010. I Am the Rain, due September 9th on MRI/Sony, is the follow-up to Lifted Off the Ground, the LP she released in conjunction with her memoir Like Me, which detailed her struggles as a closeted lesbian in the country-music industry.
The new album was recorded with Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry last fall at the iconic Sunset Sound studio in Los Angeles. It features guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Milk Carton Kids, and the producer of Wright's previous album, Rodney Crowell, who co-wrote "At the Heart of Me" with Wright and Henry.
The recipient of ACM's Top New Female Vocalist honor in 1995, Wright has now recorded eight studio albums. I Am the Rain was funded in part by a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. When all was said and done, the LP was the number one most-funded country music Kickstarter project to date. It also ranks as the 11th most successful music campaign in the global benefit corporation's history.
Wright, who also chronicled her coming-out in the award-winning Wish Me Away documentary, married Lauren Blitzer in 2011 (before same-sex marriage was legal across the entire U.S.) and gave birth to the couple's twin sons in 2013. She and her family currently reside in New York City.
While the material on I Am the Rain finds her opening and exploring a new musical chapter, one that is certainly closer to the all-encompassing Americana format than contemporary mainstream country, the Kansas-born singer continues to adhere to the assertion that she is, at heart, a country artist.
"I had somebody ask me, 'Why don't you just go pop?'" Wright tells Rolling Stone Country. "I said, 'That's not me. I don't want to be a pop artist. I want to be an artist that can be 60 years old sitting on stage at the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame telling stories and singing songs that would be appropriate for a 60-year-old woman. I mean, we all want to be Emmylou Harris or Loretta Lynn, don't we?"
I Am the Rain will be available for pre-order beginning July 22nd and released to stores and online retailers September 9th. A headlining tour is in the works, with details to be revealed in the weeks and months to come.
Chely Wright, I Am the Rain track listing:
"Where Will You Be"
"At The Heart of Me"
"You Are the River"
"What About Your Heart"
"Pain" (featuring Emmylou Harris)
"Tomorrow Is a Long Time" (Bob Dylan cover featuring Milk Carton Kids)
"Blood and Bones and Skin"
"Next to Me"
"See Me Home"