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Grammy-nominated country star and singer/songwriter Sylvia, known for her string of ’80s hits that includes “Nobody,” “Tumbleweed,” and “Drifter,” is set to release Nature Child – A Dreamer’s Journey on “Twos-day,” 2/22/22.
A concept album for children, families, and the dreamer in all of us, Nature Child is a soundtrack to a journey that will inspire young and old alike to pursue their dreams.
“Dreaming our dreams and endeavoring to LIVE them brings us to a deeper knowing of who we are,” says Sylvia. “Our dreams are calling to us even as we are looking for them, and the most effective dreaming is playful and alive! This album was written and recorded with a sense of play and joy. My own dream is that the music will embolden, delight, and encourage listeners of all ages to keep dreaming, despite any challenges they may meet along the way.”
Nature Child represents an important milestone for Sylvia. Having written more and more of her own material in recent years, Sylvia co-wrote all the songs on Nature Child with writers Verlon Thompson, John Mock, Thom Schuyler, and Craig Bickhardt. The album was recorded in Nashville amid the pandemic with Sylvia’s longtime friend, collaborator, and co-producer, John Mock (Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks, James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, Maura O’Connell, Kathy Mattea, Mark O’Connor). Every vocal note, including harmonies and choral passages, is a product of Sylvia’s extraordinary singing talents and her legendary ability to bring the listener to the heart of her music.
Sylvia’s adult fans will appreciate that Nature Child stands right alongside all her previous recordings in terms of world-class artistry. Beautifully produced, imaginative, and rich in storytelling, the album has a scintillating quality, with every track set, for the most part, in an acoustic timbre. As with any concept album, the sequence of the music is important, yet each song is complete in itself.
Highlights include “Every Time A Train Goes By,” in which an American roots sound with a gentle beat gives a sense of motion to the vividly recounted (and true) story of Sylvia confronting her first fears as a young child. “(Hey, Hey Hey) It’s A New Day” conveys the message that “every day’s a brand-new canvas,” and we have power to paint it as we choose. Here Sylvia displays both the rich lower notes of her vocal range and her astute work as a background harmony singer.
In “Dancing Over An Emerald Isle,” the Emerald Isle is a metaphor for the imagination, a land of endless possibilities. The strings at the beginning of this song set a gentle, plaintive tone that transitions to the haunting modality of a folk music jig, which Sylvia sings in a crisp style that fits the narrative to perfection. With a musical construction that follows the flow of its lyrics, “Nature Child” begins by drifting off into a reverie and then brings listeners joyfully home to nature – and to their true natures, for, as Sylvia notes, “Nature calls to us, protects us, and loves us ‘home at last.’ This is really what the whole album is about.”
During her tenure as a solo artist with RCA Records between 1979 and 1987, Sylvia became one of the most celebrated women in country music. She released five albums with a dozen #1 and Top Ten hits, sold over four million records, and won multiple awards including the Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year and Billboard’s #1 Country Female Artist. In the 1990s, Sylvia began sharing new facets of her voice and perspective as an artist through her work on her own record label, Red Pony Records. In 2016, she released the critically acclaimed It’s All in the Family, her most personal album to date and the first on which she was a co-writer for most of the songs. Sylvia’s unique ability to honor the past while standing firmly in the present is what made her 2018 release, Second Bloom, so striking. With this album, she was able to re-imagine some of her greatest hits, using the musical experiences and skills she had gained over the past three decades to imbue the songs with new life.
Sylvia’s talents and interests extend beyond music; she serves as a certified life and career coach to executives and artists of all genres and has sat on the board of a non-profit organization that assists people who have mental illness and substance use disorders. Yet she has never stopped singing. Even while on hiatus from performing, Sylvia maintained a schedule of weekly appointments with her voice teacher and continued to hone her craft as a vocalist.
Sylvia is quick to point out that her path hasn’t been a straight one, but she likes it that way. What is most important to her is continual growth – personal, professional, and artistic – and gratitude for the choices, challenges, and turns in the road that have brought her to where she stands today.
Previous Sylvia albums include Drifter (1981, RCA), Just Sylvia (1982, RCA), Snapshot (1983, RCA), Surprise (1984, RCA), One Step Closer (1985, RCA), Greatest Hits (1987, RCA), The Real Story (1996, Red Pony Records), Sylvia Anthology (1997, Renaissance Records), RCA Legends: Sylvia (2002, RCA), A Cradle in Bethlehem (2002, Red Pony Records), Where In The World (2002, Red Pony Records), All American Country (compilation, 2007, Sony/BMG), It’s All in the Family (2016, Red Pony Records), and Second Bloom – The Hits Re-Imagined (2018, Red Pony Records).
Nature Child – A Dreamer’s Journey will be available starting February 22, 2022 at major digital retailers, with physical CDs available through Amazon and Bandcamp.
Categories: Music Talk Stuff