Hannah Aldridge: After the Gold Rush
Hannah Aldridge is Muscle Shoals born singer and songwriter, now based in Nashville and currently touring Europe in support of her second album Gold Rush praised by Folk Radio as “unquestionably one of the best Americana albums of the year, she’s struck the mother lode.”
She was born right into it. The musical roots runs deep in her family, as the daughter of renowned Muscle Shoals songwriter Walt Aldridge (Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Conway Twitter and numerous others), but Hannah is surely carving out her own niche as a solo artist, adding an edge of classic rock into her country and Southern soul heritage.
We caught up with the rising artist earlier this summer to get to know her just a little better, and she also found time to do a wonderful playlist for us. Check it out along with her new album.
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Who is Hannah Aldridge – can you please introduce yourself?
I was born in a town out side of Muscle Shoals, AL named Florence on December 9, 1987. All the other details are a matter of opinion I guess!
Congratulations with a wonderful new album. Gold Rush dropped this summer in Europe, and just recently in the U.S. What do we get and what’s it about?
Thank you very much! It’s a bit of a rock record but also has moments of just myself and my songs. A good portion of this record was written in an airplane, or a car, or some small city somewhere on a map. There’s a lot of me sorting through the inner dialogue I have about my life and as a 29 year old making my way through the years. There is also some backstory in songs like Aftermath and Gold Rush.
What inspired you the most when you started writing the songs that ended up on Gold Rush?
I think the things that inspire me the most in general are struggles we all have, the search for a bigger picture of life, and my personal stories of love and war.
There’s a subtext in this whole record that I didn’t realize was there until after I heard it back. Most of the songs are pretty dark on the surface, but there is an underlying message of hope and also humor.
What can you share about the recording process and working with this material in the studio?
This record was very much a collaborative effort. I really leaned on my friend and producer Jordan Dean who introduced me to M. Allen Parker as well. Both of them helped me tremendously to find the right players, studio, and sound for the whole record. With Gold Rush I really didn’t have time to second guess any decisions that were made because I would have been in the studio for years if I had allowed myself to go down that road.
I knew I had put the work in on the front end and had to trust that I made the right decisions in players and producers before we ever stepped foot in the studio.
That made those days in the studio so much more relaxed.
What kind of feelings or sentiment do you wish leaving for the listener after hearing it?
I want people to listen to this record and know that they aren’t alone in the fears and worries they have.
When I put a pen to paper, I try to say things that challenge myself to be blunt and honest because I know that somewhere someone needs to hear that they aren’t the only person that feels that way.
I also think that there’s something so hopeful and moving about knowing you’re not the only one that struggles.
Sometimes its as simple as pulling the curtain back and saying ‘this is what scares me’.
Please describe a preferred setting to ultimately enjoy the album?
I would say this album deserves a listen in your car on a road trip. That’s where a lot of it was written and I think it makes sense in that setting.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?
The first listen to The Harrow and The Harvest by Gillian Welch changed me pretty tremendously. At that point I started to dig a little deeper in my songwriting.
Any recent songs you’d like to recommend?
I’m digging the Lana Del Rey single “Love” at the moment. Another would be “Bored in the USA” by Father John Misty. I’m pretty anxious to sit at a piano and learn that one.
Can you share a fun fact about you or your music?
I didn’t ever write a song or pick up a guitar until I was 23.
What’s coming next for Hannah Aldridge?
First of all lots of touring, then I will be focusing on writing a 3rd record, but beyond that I am just along for the ride.
That’s the thing about music. You go where it leads you, not the other way around.
I’m trying to learn to be comfortable with that.
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