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Nicolette Good's 'Monarch' kills Americana dead

Photo: Josh Huskin, License: N/A

Josh Huskin

'Jack Kennedy' gives Good's latest album two paws up.

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At this point in her career, to say Nicolette Good is an "Americana" artist is not only inaccurate, but insulting. She uses Americana as a starting point, but not necessarily a destination. With the stunning Monarch, her full-length debut, she breaks all genre limitations for good.

"I knew what I could do in this little Americana circle, but I didn't want to stay there," she told the Current days before her CD release party at 502 Bar on July 13. "I wanted things to get weirder and creepier and rougher and edgier, and all of that stuff."

"All of that stuff" is a slew of amazing tracks grounded by a voice with all the power of her acclaimed self-titled 2011 EP but infused with more experimental sweetness. If the EP — which she calls "a great demo that was blown out of proportion" — was Good going all out, Monarch is a much more intimate, deeper exploration of new territories with the artist mining a more mature and complex sound.

"I'm very proud of it," she said. "We put a lot of work, energy, thought, time, and sweat into it."

Good co-produced the album with Britton Beisenherz and Jesse Basham at Austin's Ramble Creek recording studio. Besides Basham and Beisenherz playing an assortment of instruments, the recording band included Jon Greene in percussion, Jonathan Doyle in clarinet, Jesse Ebaugh on double bass and pedal steel, Oscar Interiano on organ, and Steve Bernal on strings.

"I asked them to put their magic into my songs, and they did," Good said. An example of this magic is found on a mellower version of "Son of my Sister," the only song from the EP that was re-recorded for Monarch. "I listen back to the first recording and, while it's good, I didn't do it justice," Good said of the song that now boasts piano. "I wanted to improve it. This version is a lot bigger while also being a lot simpler."

Though Good usually plays solo with just an acoustic guitar, at the 502 Bar gig she'll play guitar, harmonica, and keyboards and be joined by Basham on guitar, Ryan Teter (Bad Breaks, Mission Complete!) on bass, and Current Art Director Chuck Kerr (Bad Breaks) on drums. "Rehearsals are going great, but it'll be a different experience for me," she said. "Sometimes you just have to let go and accept the fact that it is not going to sound like the CD. Then, embrace that and make it into something else. And it is going to be something else." •

Nicolette Good on her debut album, Monarch

"Monarch" — "It's my newest song. Literally, I finished writing it in the car 30 minutes before I got to the studio. If there is a song that talks about the music industry, it's this one. It's unclear whether the musician is a king or a pauper. The vocals you hear on the album are the first and the second time I ever sang the song. Ever. And it's kind of cool."

"Like a Whisper, Like a Siren" — "When I performed this before, I pushed my voice out a little harder. It wasn't until I got in the room with [drummer] Jon Greene that I felt for the first time that I was playing the song that I was meant to play. I was afraid of recording it, but now it's my favorite one on the album."

"The Road" — "It's the oldest song I wrote, probably before any of the other EP songs. I just didn't have the money to do it on the EP, and I'm glad I didn't because I got to do it justice here."

Nicolette Good's Monarch CD release party feat. Collin Herring, Pillow Talk

$10 ($12 for those under 21)
9pm Fri, July 13
502 Bar
502 Embassy Oaks
(210) 257-8125

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