Three of Austin's Finest Come Together as Nobody's Girl for Debut 'Waterline'
Nobody's Girl might not be a name that is familiar to a lot of fans of Americana, but the three women that make the band very well may be. Bettysoo is a member of the '60s girl-band throwback group Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, as well as performing as a guitarist and vocalist with Michael Fracasso and Bonnie Whitmore. Grace Pettis is a singer and songwriter, who most recently contributed music to Ruthie Foster's latest album and has a long musical family pedigree. Rebecca Loebe is a successful solo artist who many may remember from the first season of The Voice.
The three are also all past winners of the Kerryville New Folk competition. The trio had been friends since Bettysoo won the award in 2008, bonding not only over their musical similarities, but their mutual obsession with Star Trek (in the group's press materials, they refer to each others' personalities and roles in the band using characters from the series as examples). A proposed one-off tour in 2017 lead to a performance at Kerryville in 2018 and eventually to recording an EP, Waterline, releasing Sept. 28 on Texas indie label Lucky Hound Music.
The EP gives all three members a chance to shine as lead vocalist, but it's in their harmonies and catchy hooks that Waterline truly shines. The album's best song, “What'll I Do” bookends the album's 7 songs. The opening version is an electric rocker, with some impressively powerful riffs from Bettysoo and studio guitarist David Grissom, who is solid throughout. The song walks a fine line between Americana and power pop, sounding a bit like The Dixie Chicks backed up by the Jayhawks. Lyrically, it's a winking acknowledgment of bad decisions, with the narrator opening the song by saying “You're not such a good idea, but I'm pulling for it. My friends wouldn't give the green light, but I want to floor it” before going on to detail her crush's many red flags, from indecisive career choices (“you want to be a poet... or maybe a chef”) to freeloading (“you want to stay here because you're rent's due... about three months ago.”)
The second version of “What'll I Do,” which closes the album, is a live acoustic version. While it doesn't have nearly the drive of the opener due to the lack of electricity, it makes up for it by showcasing the trio's airtight harmonies and sense of fun, with Pettis delivering many of the lines with a sardonic smirk big enough to be heard through the speakers.
The album's other standout track is a cover of Blondie's “Call Me.” The song retains enough of the original to be an instantly recognizable sing-along, but forges its own path. While Loebe takes leads on the track, all three band members chime in frequently, bringing a chorus to Debbie Harry's original single vocals. Musically, it strips away both the mild punk elements of the original and the new wave flourishes, leaving behind a Tom Petty-inspired slick Southern rock anthem.
Overall, this is an interesting debut for a trio of musicians distinguishing themselves from a crowded Americana scene. If you'd like to see Nobody's Girl live, they're embarking on what they're calling the Sirens of South Austin Tour, kicking things off with three CD release shows. Here's the full list of tour dates:
Sep. 27- Poor David's Pub- Dallas, TX- Album Release Show
Sep. 28- The Mucky Duck- Houston, TX- Album Release Show
Sep. 29- Saxon Pub- Austin, TX- Album Release Show
Sep. 30- Sam's Burger Joint- San Antonio, TX
Nov. 1- Natalie's- Worthington, OH
Nov. 2- Seven Steps Up- Spring Lake, MI
Nov. 3- Fitzgerald's- Berwyn, IL
Nov. 9- Fischer Fest- Fischer, TX
Nov. 10- Longview Museum of Fine Arts- Longview, TX
Nov. 12- The Loft at City Winery, New York, NY
Nov. 14- Godfrey Daniel's- Bethlehem, PA
Nov. 15- The Towne Crier- Beacon, NY
Nov. 16- Me and Thee Coffeehouse- Marblehead, MA