Nashville-based artist Ali Sperry has announced her forthcoming LP In Front Of Us, due out on March 11th, with the release of its lead single “Cool Under Pressure.” The venerated singer/songwriter was inspired to write the song after watching the 2020 U.S. Vice Presidential debate. “Kamala Harris was a force to be reckoned with that night and made a deep impact on me,” Sperry recalls. “I stirred with pride to be a woman, pride to witness such a woman demonstrating her ability for leadership. The way she elegantly fought for her time to speak, insisted upon it, was almost shocking to me, as it was an example too-seldom seen,” she continues. “I thought about this debate in the weeks to come and lyrics began to emerge. I called on my impressions of that night and quotes from our now-Vice President, as well as reflections on other women leaders of our time.” “Cool Under Pressure” was co-written with friend, fellow singer/songwriter, and frequent collaborator Carey Ott.
Sperry, when faced with a year of trauma, racial reckoning, and downright worldwide existential crisis, did what she has always done — turned inward and wrote songs that channeled, mirrored, and ultimately distilled those cultural currents into what became In Front Of Us. The album was made in the thick of the pandemic and was produced by her husband, Jamie Dick. The restrictions of life in 2020 compelled the couple to set up a home studio and create a safe place to make the record, remotely collaborating with friends like Allison Russell, Kyshona, Jill Andrews, and more.
“While it is not a record about the pandemic, it was very much informed by the stillness of life at that time,” Sperry reveals. “The concurrence between our new quieter, slower daily pace with the intense political atmosphere of 2020, including the racial reckoning that was taking place in our country and the #metoo movement still active in the public discourse, spilled into a batch of songs about mortality, our place in the universe, how we treat one another and ourselves, and what we are passing along to the next generation,” she adds. “The pandemic, violence, bigotry, racism, lack of respect for other human beings and for the planet–this was on my mind and in my heart as these songs came to be. There are also themes of being your most authentic self, speaking your own truth, and relying on hope when all else fails.”
With In Front Of Us, Sperry wisely avoids long-form folk indulgence for streamlined contours and razor hooks that feel more rock/pop than folk, and are fairly begging for a decent car stereo and an open road. In her singing and writing, she is the people’s champ of the “less is more” ethos. There is a slight echo of Laurel Canyon in the sonics of the record, and, always, the confident under-singing of a woman who knows her words and melodies will happily do the heavy lifting.
Jamie Dick’s production artfully maintains the connective tissue from song to song, and always gives pride of place to Sperry’s voice and truth-telling. Raised by musician/Transcendental Meditation-teacher parents in Fairfield, Iowa, music has been a constant thread throughout Sperry’s life and was the driving force that brought her to Nashville in 2009.
The album also features an absolute murderers’ row of beloved Nashville players, including Jen Gunderman, Audley Freed, Sadler Vaden, Joe Pisapia, Owen Biddle, Kai Welch, Kristin Weber, Rich Hinman, and a slew of other bright lights. It’s a testament to both their instincts and their respect for Sperry’s presence and voice, that it never feels like a cavalcade of assembled star-turns, but a real love-in of massively talented musical souls.
IN FRONT OF US TRACKLIST:
I Know You’re Scared
Cool Under Pressure
In Your Dreams
Peace By Moonlight
In Front Of Us
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