As AmericanaFest 2017 came and went last week, the festival made it clear our city remains a bastion of incredible roots and alt-country artists. Amid this year’s celebrated and anticipated releases from Lilly Hiatt, Margo Price, Angaleena Presley, Andrew Combs and Caroline Spence, we welcome newcomer Savannah Conley. The 20 year old Nashville native made her debut on Sept. 8 with the EP 18th and Portland, a nod to her Belmont stomping grounds.
The surest introduction to Conley is EP opener and arguable standout track “Midnight Train.” Conley’s voice rings out like a train whistle in the black of night, and it lingers in your head long after the song is over. “Lost Lover” and “Blowin’ Smoke” show off Conley’s down to earth songwriting chops before things take an interesting turn with “Fire,” where we feel a cosmic connection to The Smashing Pumpkins’ ballady “Stand Inside Your Love” guitar tones. “Waiting’ My Life Away” wraps up the EP in gorgeously languid fashion, leaving us anticipating Conley’s next move.
On 18th and Portland, Conley tackles anxiety, shifting relationship dynamics, and personal freedom. Citing influences Patsy Cline, The Rolling Stones and The Andrews Sisters, Conley says 18th and Portland is a transition release. “Prior to this, I seemed to write with the lens of a girl who was looking out the window at life being lived,” she says. “Now I’ve had some life to live and have drawn from it for my writing. A coming of age piece, I guess you could say.”
Listen to Savannah Conley’s EP 18th and Portland below.