Since 1947, the tiny town of Puxico, Missouri, (pop. 881) and VFW Post 7822 have hosted an annual Homecoming in August, featuring a parade, beauty pageants, baby contests and “world famous goat burgers.” The town is also the inspiration for the debut LP by one of the most prolific, celebrated songwriters in Nashville: Natalie Hemby, whose tunes have been hits for Miranda Lambert (“Automatic,” “White Liar”) and Little Big Town (“Pontoon,” “Tornado”), among dozens of others. The songwriter will release Puxico on January 13th, an album that celebrates small-town life, the roots of one’s raising and the experiences that shape us as individuals but also keep us connected to the past.
Set against the backdrop of a carnival’s flashing lights, with a marching band and the first signs of affection made public, “Lovers on Display” is one the album’s most jubilant tracks, a cotton-candy dream of a burgeoning romance where the rest of the world just fades into the background. (Listen to the track below.)
“I wrote ‘Lovers on Display’ in Los Angeles, California, with my good friend Trent Dabbs,” Hemby tells Rolling Stone Country. “We were both there on separate writing trips and decided to get together and squeeze in one more write at night. I had just told him about Puxico homecoming – all of the fair rides, square dances and the events that took place during the week. So we drew inspiration from that idea and kind of happened upon the title ‘Lovers on Display.’ We were trying to capture the feeling of falling in love.”
While Hemby was born and raised in Nashville, the city of Puxico is the hometown of the singer-songwriter’s grandfather, George Hemby, about whom she made a documentary film, also titled Puxico. The film, which includes several of Hemby’s original songs, was shot during one of the town’s hottest summers in 2010. It premiered at Puxico’s Annual VFW Homecoming in 2014 and was later screened at Nashville’s Belcourt Theater.
Here’s the track listing for Puxico:
1. “Time Honored Tradition”
2. “Lovers on Display”
3. “Grand Restoration”
4. “Cairo, IL”
5. “Ferris Wheel”
7. “This Town Still Talks About You”
8. “I Remember How You loved Me”