Possessed with a killer voice that exudes honky-tonk heartacheand can also rock out Willis has a few decades-worth of material to pull from, all of it worth hearing.
Back Being Blue is Willis' seventh full-length studio album and her first solo project since her 2007 LP Translated from Love. Willis' husband, Bruce Robison produced the new album analogue style in his rural recording studio in their home state of Texas. Willis wrote six of the 10 tracks herself, with help from the likes of Rodney Crowell on the additional four. Notable guests on the record include Eleanor Whitmore (of The Mastersons and Steve Earle and the Dukes), Mark Spencer (of Son Volt) and Trevor Nealon (of Band of Heathens).
Willis explains, I attempted to make music that could fit in any era but leans on the simplicity of the music that first inspired me. Roots rockabilly country blues, to narrow it down for you! Kind of a Nick Lowe meets Skeeter Davis meets Crystal Gayle. Sounds that were in full blaze when I first moved Austin.
Willis is herself a longtime feature in the city, having moved to Austin to pursue music shortly after graduating from high school. Not long after, famed singer/songwriter Nancy Griffith took a shine to her voice and recommended Willis to producer Tony Brown, one of the titans of Nashville country, who signed her to a deal with MCA. Willis found herself in the spotlight of country music world in Nashville, with three albums released to widespread critical acclaim.