BettySoo is a classically trained honky-tonk legend, a musician’s musician in Austin. Grace Pettis is an acclaimed singer-songwriter who recently released the formidable album Working Woman, and Rebecca Loebe is a Berklee-trained contestant on The Voice. All three women have won awards from the Kerrville Folk Festival. Truly, these three Texans are the face of the next generation of Texas music, and combining forces as Nobody’s Girl should be a wakeup call for anyone who’s been sleeping on any three of these artists.
With all their country and folk bona fides, Nobody’s Girl finds itself most at home in with a big, ’90s country-style sound. Their self-titled album is unified and cohesive, gleefully skipping between decades of country music history: Whether BettySoo, Pettis, and Loebe are wafting through their cover of Carole King’s “So Far Away” or ripping through the liberatory “Rescue,” the trio’s buoyant harmonies create a distinctive chemistry that is undeniable.
In spite of the pop sound, Nobody’s Girl excels at writing bubbly music with an iron core. “Tiger,” with its sly country pop hooks that could easily fit in with top 40 country, juxtaposes its slick production with the tension of someone very nearly at the brink, describing the taste of blood in one’s own mouth with the same glib smoothness as calling up one’s ex. Amidst the whirlwind chaos, the narrator wonders if anyone will notice if they die alone. It’s not your typical song about a bender, to be sure, but it’s likely one of the more accurate ones.
Nobody’s Girl addresses political concerns with equal vigor. “Birthright” is a stunning examination of intergenerational trauma, with each verse widening the scope of its ripple effects. Beginning from the viewpoint of a child whose mother has started a new family without them to examining the impacts of racism on our society in the final verse, Nobody’s Girl shows they can do quite a bit with three minutes, three chords, and the truth.
Taken as a whole, Nobody’s Girl is a fun album that requires a second, third, tenth listen. Sonically, the trio are as good as it gets, and their love for creating with each other is evident in the pop sounds they gravitate to. But individually, each songwriter is more than capable of cutting to the core of our truths, a power that is only focused to greater concentration as a trio. Listening to the album feels like an invitation into their practice: creating hard-hitting music that is also an outlet for joy and creativity.