Nora Jane Struthers Announces Uplifting Americana Album ‘Back To Cast Iron’
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Nora Jane Struthers, whose work has been lauded by NPR, Rolling Stone Country, Saving Country Music, CMT, American Songwriter, and more, has announced her forthcoming LP, Back To Cast Iron, due out on October 27th. Today, she releases its lead single, “Is It Hope,” an uplifting Americana ballad about finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In it, Struthers sings of sunlight, red birds, and blooming plants – painting an audiovisual picture of optimism. Vibrant and deeply relatable, “Is It Hope” reminds the listener that life truly does get better.
Struthers wrote “Is It Hope” in the isolation of 2021, two months before her son’s birth. With a two-year-old at home then, she and her husband knew they would need family/community help during the birth and recovery process. “I remember so vividly hearing President Biden say that by July 4th he believed we would be able to safely gather with our families,” she recalls. “This hope glimmered on the horizon like a sunrise over the ocean for me.”
In early 2020, as she hit the road in support of her last album Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words, Struthers was successfully balancing her two dreams. The way forward seemed clear, though not without its difficulties. Ten days into the tour, the entire world shut down. Losing your livelihood and professional momentum can be humbling, but it can also be transformative, altering your perspective on life and the world at large. And for Struthers, it became the well-spring for a strong return with her emotionally bracing new release, Back To Cast Iron.
“Letting go of something that I loved so much and trying to come to terms with what I was going to put in its place – that’s the story of the album,” Struthers says. “And the story of my life right now. I’m navigating what it looks like to be a full-time caregiver to two children, and trying to figure out how to balance that while finding new ways of seeking joy.”
While such big changes could easily inspire quiet musical reflection, Struthers chooses a more extroverted approach. Starting with “Is It Hope?” and “Oh To Be Home,” a pair of sky-gazing three-chord wonders, the album locks into a mostly uptempo groove. “Car Henge” is a speedometer-ticking rocker about a rusty roadside sculpture that’s “sexier than Cleopatra,” and the California country-flavored “Life Of A Dream” is like a spiritual Marie Kondo-style recalibration. The old school honky tonk “Children They Need You (All Of The Time)” replaces the usual trope of broken hearts and busted relationships with something more insistently needy while the bluegrass-flavored “Trying To Get Ready” touts preparedness (“Roots in the cellar, grits in the pantry”). “Something Wild” arrives at a fresh take on an old truth (“You gotta let it grow where it lies”) and “Back On The Road” concludes with an exhilarating final shot: “There ain’t no life that’s better than this.” Despite the anxiety and existential questions that fueled it, Back To Cast Iron has the feel of first-day-of-summer optimism and possibility.
Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, she began attending festivals around the South with her banjo-playing father. After graduating from NYU with an education degree, she taught high school English and put her music career on the back burner. But, a visit to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the early 2000s changed that. Watching one of her heroes, Tim O’Brien, she stood in front of the stage, glanced back at the crowd and the mountains, and thought, “This is what I want to do.” There followed a move to Nashville, much woodshedding and touring, with Bearfoot, and her first solo-fronted group, the Bootleggers (who won the 2008 Telluride band competition). Along the way, she worked with bluegrass luminaries like O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, and Bryan Sutton, and released two critically acclaimed albums. But it was in 2012, when Struthers formed her band Party Line, that everything started to come into sharper focus. Rolling Stone Country called the four albums they made together “an evolved blend of roots and rock,” while Ann Powers of NPR Music said, “Struthers is guided by fire. She’s come up with some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists.”
Back To Cast Iron is available for pre-save and pre-order HERE. Be sure to follow Nora Jane Struthers at the links below for the latest news and updates.
BACK TO CAST IRON TRACKLIST
Is It Hope
Oh To Be Home
Back To Cast Iron
I Can Hear The Birds
Life Of A Dream
Children They Need You (All Of The Time)
Trying To Get Ready
Back On The Road
You can connect with Nora Jane Struthers on website norajanestruthers.com, Facebook @Nora Jane Struthers, Instagram @norajanestruthers, Twitter @_NoraJane, YouTube @NoraJaneStruthersMusic and Spotify @Nora Jane Struthers