(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 42: Natalie Jane Hill

Natalie Jane Hill

Austin, TX Songwriter Natalie Jane Hill recasts the purest sort of folk music in a modern light, distilling intricate guitar picking and throaty, emotion-laden melodies into songs whose simple contours give way to hidden crevices and eccentricities. Her voice is like a breeze through the trees and her debut album Azalea caught a lot of attention last year (here!). Solely, her second album, again on Dear Life Records, adds pedal steel from Mat Davidson and Bob Hoffnar, as well as wonderful cello parts that recall Nick Drake.
Her incredible fingerpicking and her guitar are still the rocks around which her music is built, but her voice, with a distinct quick vibrato, is the unmistakable and unique feature of the record, reminding Sandy Denny or Linda Thompson.

What Natalie says: “Plants and Flowers That Do Not Grow Here” is one of my more personal songs on the album. It’s about trying to navigate through a time of addiction while in a disassociated state. I had spent some time trying to distinguish reality from illusion, and I wanted this song to capture the dreamlike quality I was lost in.

“Orb Weaver” is a song about comparing myself to the hidden intricacies that I might find on a walk in the woods. I attach most of my memories to what is visually around during a certain time. Sometimes there is a comfort to the natural world and other times there is a harshness. My experiences can almost mirror them. I’d like to think that nature has a way of telling us exactly what we need to hear.”

Her Mixtape: “I’ve gathered some songs that have been inspiring me lately and perhaps some of them were even inspiration for my new album. There’s a couple tried and true favorites that have been with me for a good while too. My taste in music is expansive but also somehow very cohesive. I also threw in some oldies because my heart always goes back to them. Enjoy!” 

Linda Perhacs – Dolphin 

I’ve actually only recently started listening to Perhacs. I’ve had several people over the years tell me I would love her, and they were right. When I first heard “Dolphin” I was totally stopped in my tracks. Her voice is so pure and heart wrenching. And the moody guitar. It just sort of puts me in this peaceful and whimsical place. It’s really everything I would want in a song. 

Sally Anne Morgan – Wintersong 

Sally is definitely one of my favorites as a current artist right now. This song is off of her record “Thread” that came out last year. Hearing this track really took me back to the mountains in North Carolina. There is a strong place in my heart for that area and “Wintersong” reminds me of it. I can smell a wood stove burning and I can hear the fallen leaves crunching. This song just transports me back to those fond memories and I truly love it. This song has a sound so close to home. 

Ignatz – She Gets All That She Wants 

A dear friend played this song for me a few years ago as we were driving through Alabama on a country road. It was a beautiful summer day and the sun was doing its late afternoon glow. With the tones of the guitars and the soft and somewhat elusive singing…it’s just a forever favorite. And maybe it’s also the memory tied to this song that makes it so special. Either way, it has definitely been on repeat quite frequently since then. 

The Weather Station – Subdivisions

I started listening to The Weather Station back in 2013. I was completely enamored by Tamara’s songwriting and I think her songs are what sparked an interest in my own songwriting journey. I’ve been a loyal fan since and their new record that came out this year just blew me away. I love how her music has evolved over the years and how she’s not afraid to step out of what she’s used to. “Subdivisions” is really just a masterpiece of a song. Everything about it is beautiful and powerful. I listen to it a lot while I’m driving. The emotion in this one just hits a certain way. 

Animal Collective & Vashti Bunyan – It’s You

I think some people might be surprised to know that Animal Collective was one of the main bands I listened to when I was younger. Mostly throughout high school. I hadn’t heard anything like them before and I was intrigued by the multitude of textures and melodies they could create. I’ve always loved this collaborative EP they did with Vashti Bunyan. Her voice works so perfectly with their sound. I recently started listening to them again after some years and it’s honestly just as good. It makes me want to start playing more experimental folk. 

Joni Mitchell – For the Roses 

I was a bit late on the Joni train and deeply regret that. I remember my mom being a big fan of hers when I was a child. She would show me vinyls she kept and played them for me. But it wasn’t until my early 20s that I really started to appreciate, or understand, Joni’s music. I had been listening to her song “All I Want” on repeat, singing along and trying to meet the same range that she had. After having her record “Blue” on repeat forever, I started diving into more albums. “For the Roses” really captivated me. When I first heard it, I remember thinking how I wanted to play guitar like that. I still do. She’s amazing.

Hayden Pedigo – Carthage 

I only just discovered Hayden’s music a couple weeks ago but I am in full support of it. I love how instrumental songs can give such a feeling without any words at all. I feel so many things with “Carthage” and I love that about it. On the first listen, it spoke to me on so many levels. It’s heavy but so light. There’s something to say for music that you can’t put your finger on exactly… it just makes sense. This is a song that would make a nice soundtrack to my life.  

Solely will be out October 29th on Dear Life Records. Look HERE for more information on Natalie Jane Hill.

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