On May 13th, Americana singer-songwriter Michaela Anne will release the new album Bright Lights and the Fame. A collection of honky-tonkers and poignant ballads, the record evokes the country-rock sound of the Eagles and the emotional vocals of Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.
Bright Lights and the Fame is the follow-up to the former Brooklynite’s 2014 debut Ease My Mind, a more subdued affair that showcased the lilting side of Michaela Anne’s voice. Here, she lets loose, on tracks like the hard-charging “Living Without You” and the devilish “Liquor Up.”
“My last record was very self-reflective, and had more of a singer-songwriter vibe. This new record reflects the strength and ballsiness that I was trying to push myself toward with the songs,” Michaela Anne tells Rolling Stone Country. “There’s a lot of diversity behind me that hasn’t come through in my music yet, a lot more attitude.”
Produced by Dan Knobler, Bright Lights and the Fame features a collaboration with Rodney Crowell (the two-stepping “Luisa”), as well as songs written by Grammy-nominated producer Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories), an early champion of Michaela Anne.
But it’s the title track that best sums up the spirit of the wandering spirit, an always-on-the-move military kid.
“‘Bright Lights and the Fame’ is a song that I wrote in response to Hank Williams’ ‘Ramblin’ Man.’ The theme of that song, of a man leaving his wife behind and rambling around and being this traveling troubadour that can’t settle down, is a very common theme in a lot of country songs. It’s romanticized and still very attractive these days, but I always wondered what the stories were from the wives and the mothers of these men’s children. They didn’t get a chance to tell their story,” she says.
Michaela Anne herself will hit the road soon, playing select shows in the Midwest and a number of showcases at South by Soutwest in Austin in March.