Nashville singer-songwriter Nora Jane Struthers has announced plans for her fifth studio album Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words, which is the follow-up to 2017’s Champion. Inspired by a series of drastic changes in the songwriter’s life, the new album was recorded when Struthers was eight months pregnant with her daughter.
“One of the central questions on this record is: Can I have and realize two dreams?” Struthers, who releases her records independently, wrote on the album’s Kickstarter fundraising page. “If you know me, you probably know that I’ve recently become a mother through the miracle of egg donation. (I was diagnosed with ‘Premature Ovarian Failure’ when I was 18 years old.) As I was getting closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming a mother I began wonder, “Will motherhood supersede my dream of spending my life playing music out on the road?”
The album’s first single, “Nice To Be Back Home,” is a mid-tempo roots-rocker that finds the 36-year-old performer pausing to celebrating the hard-won peace and comforts of domestic contentment. “I like eating breakfast with my old spoon, my old cup,” she sings on the five-minute track, which features a hard-driving honky-tonk lead guitar. Struthers wrote the song about the work she would have to do to balance her life at home and on the road.
“For the first three years of touring together after we became a couple, my husband Joe and I didn’t have a mattress in our bedroom. Instead, we slept on a two-inch thick memory foam mattress-topper on the hardwood floor and we loved it,” Struthers tells Rolling Stone Country. “We had a second one that we dubbed ‘the road-foam,’ which we’d keep in the van and roll out on floors all over the country and, this way, we were always sleeping in our own bed. We’ve since upgraded to a real eight-inch-thick mattress and last year when I was pregnant, we even got ourselves a bed to put it on, but the idea of taking our home with us wherever we go has remained. I’d love to not sound like a Hallmark card here, but I fear it’s unavoidable. Home is not a place — it’s a feeling. My husband, and now our daughter, are my home.”
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Nora Jane Struthers will be touring Tennessee and Virginia in December. Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words will be out on February 21st.