New Music:

Natalie Jane Hill

“Emerald Blue”

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words by tom johnson

photograph by carlie tise

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The Blue Ridge Mountains are an unbroken chain of mountains, running through Virginia, North Carolina, and into Georgia nearly 100 miles away. A province of the colossal Appalachian range, the mountains gained their colourful name from the soft blue haze of distance that they often seem wrapped in. “Blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon,” Rebecca Solnit writes in A Field Guide to Getting Lost, “but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains.”

Natalie Jane Hill knows both of those mountains and the power of blues. In 2013 she moved to live within the range, absorbing the long-lasting folk scene synonymous of the area. In time she created her own styles and sounds, leaning upon the ways of old but always looking forwards.

Having since relocated to Austin, Texas, Jane Hill today announces her debut release, an exquisite collection of songs pulled from both her time spent in the Blue Ridge and beyond. Taking its name from the flowering shrub, Azalea, and introduced today with the spellbinding ‘Emerald Blue‘, the album arrives as spring does, a gentle bloom of colour and melancholy.

Immediately transportive, the album’s lead song is mesmerising and delicate, Natalie’s voice drifting in and out of focus, subtle and shaded and then full of tender power; like the landscape it draws from. “A mid-July sun beating down on your ink-covered arms,” she sings in the track’s opening lines, “An emerald blue, shining through as the canyon did too. So true.”

It seems a fitting day to celebrate the songwriter, those among us who illuminate words and music into something more, something beyond; crafting stories, small graceful worlds from otherwise simple tools. Voice and fingers, memory and muscle. It’s all here too, in the striking forefront, in the faraway blue.

Listen below right now. The album is released in May via Dear Life Records and can be pre-ordered below.

Pre-order Azalea here

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