Amy Rigby has made a life out of writing and singing about life. In rock and roll bands like The Last Roundup and The Shams in the eighties, performing in storied clubs in NYC’s East Village, to her solo debut Diary Of A Mod Housewife out of nineties Williamsburg; through a songwriting career in 2000s Nashville, and during the past decade with duo partner Wreckless Eric. She’s released records on visionary independent labels like Rounder, Matador, Signature Sounds and the reborn Stiff Records, as well as her and Eric’s own Southern Domestic Recordings.
On February 23rd Rigby will release The Old Guys, her first solo album in a dozen years, marking a welcome return for the veteran songwriter. The album measures the weight of heroes, home, family, friends and time. Endlessly eclectic in her writing, Rigby pays tribute to Philip Roth and Bob Dylan, CD/cassette players, touring, the wisdom of age and Walter White, groupies, Robert Altman, egg creams and mentors. Across twelve songs written by her and recorded by Wreckless Eric in Upstate New York, The Old Guys is the sound of a good girl grown up, never giving up. Most importantly, it is one of her hardest rocking albums to date in a lengthy career that has never shied away from cranking up and letting loose.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “From firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com”, a clear standout on Rigby’s new album. Beginning with a lumbering bassline and taking off with a shimmering guitar riff, Rigby blends power pop and American guitar rock to signal to the world that even after all these years she isn’t close to losing her fiery spirit. Between vocal delivery and lyrics, the song brings to mind the clear-cut and direct musical style of artists like Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Alejandro Escovedo. If the song title didn’t give it away, Rigby has an affinity for writers, which comes across in her own clever lyrics.
Sharing the story behind how the song came to be, Rigby has this to say:
The inspiration for “From philiproth@gmail” was a writing prompt from a guy named John D. Lamb who holds an annual songwriting camp in northern Michigan. For years he’d been asking me to be one of the instructors and when I finally got there last November 2016, I was stunned by the camaraderie and talent of the campers – many who have other professions but come every year to do what they really love: play music – and John’s energy in giving these detailed individual assignments to over forty people – not just the campers but the instructors too. Mine was along the lines of what would Philip Roth – perhaps the greatest living American writer – say to Bob Dylan about his getting the Nobel Prize, an award that Roth might’ve liked for himself.
I’m used to writing from my own life and even though I’m a Dylan fanatic and have read a Roth book or two, I almost vomited when I heard my assignment. But I’d been reading Warren Zanes’ biography of Tom Petty AND had my Danelectro 12 string with me. And I’ve been working on my own book, a memoir, for what feels like forever – long enough to know the lonely agony of putting one word after another without the glory of guitar chords and upturned faces or even one upturned face nodding back letting you know how it’s going. I played a little opening riff like Tom might do. Then Hulk-like I felt myself turning into the writer, with some help from “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”, and then the song was done. I asked John if he wanted a co-writing credit – I thought it was only fair – but he said no. A friend of a friend played an early live version for Philip Roth! I’m still waiting to hear what he thought.
Amy Rigby releases The Old Guys February 23rd on Southern Domestic Recordings. For more music and info visit amyrigby.com.