Natalie Mae, Run to You (Independent)

New Orleans, meet Natalie Mae. Now that you’ve been introduced, you need to get to know one another. Although she has been a part of the local music scene for some time now, and it’s partly because of the embarrassment of riches we have here in the Crescent City, artists like Mae often get overlooked. With a soothing voice that would be well suited to a rainy Sunday morning sitting on a porch overlooking Bayou St. John, Natalie Mae proves that she is comfortable straddling the lines that often separate country, folk, bluegrass and singer-songwriter. Joining Mae on guitar are Billy King, Mark Palms and Reed Lightfoot. Jacob Warren and Dan Wally Baker hold down the bass. Drew Howard adds dobro and pedal steel while Brian Brill plays piano and organ. Patrick Fee covers drums and percussion and Carter Bancroft along with Emolyn Liden add fiddle.

natalie-mae-run-to-youRun to You kicks off with the title track and does a nice job of setting the stage for what’s to come: a showcase for Mae’s vocals with solid musical accompaniment. Drew Howard adds tasteful dobro playing to the upbeat opening track.

Mae slows things down on “Broke Down” and gently draws the listener in as she laments lost love. Up next is the album’s sole instrumental. The slow, brooding “Oh, The Stars” creates a nice soundscape for both fiddle and banjo. “Go With You a Long Way” co-written with Reed Lightfoot, creates the opportunity for a beautiful duet. Next up is “Give It Up,” a high-spirited romp that allows Mae and company to show that they are comfortable heating things up. “Falls Of Richmond / Chilly Winds” begins with the instrumental passage before giving way to the rollicking “Chilly Winds.”

As the title might suggest, “Another Failed Affair” follows in the tradition of any number of country drinking songs as Drew Howard gets a chance to shine on pedal steel. Co-written with Emolyn Liden, “River Green” allows for some nice twin fiddle and banjo playing and is a great traveling song that will surely have you tapping your foot as you walk along. Things wind down with “Little Man,” a song that I imagine would be nice way to rock a young child to sleep.

—Christopher Weddle