In 2020, Nenni was working at a restaurant and as she came face-to-face with the pandemic upending life as she knew it, she wanted to run away. “I was fortunate to know a safe place to escape to,” Nenni tells The Boot. “Mike Eli‘s wife was wrangling at a ranch in Colorado.”
Nenni and Eli — who is also Chris Stapleton‘s guitarist — had already been writing together for several years and were comfortable recording together, too, ever since her first record, Hell of a Woman. Even at the start of the pandemic, they’d sit with one another, at a safe distance of course, and write.
So it only made sense that they would attempt to get away from the craziness together.
“We ended up being a pod, which led us to driving to Colorado and writing the rest of the record,” she explains. “Which we did! It was such a privilege to stay in a house full of wrangling women.”
The experience of living on a ranch in Colorado shines beautifully throughout “On the Ranch,” the first song and title track released from her latest LP, which hits streets on Nov. 4 via Normaltown/New West Records. You can hear the song and check out the music video for “On the Ranch” in the player below:
“The verses [in the song] are little moments I’ll always remember from that time spent at the ranch,” Nenni says, “and all the beer Mike and I drank while these cowgirls moved cattle, brought the horses to pasture at the beginning and end of every day and rode across the dunes.”
The video keeps pace with the infectious honky tonk rhythm of the song, thanks in large part to the continuous single-shot of Nenni singing and interacting with several different people. Joshua Shoemaker and Laura Mae Socks handled the creation of the video and Nenni is so grateful they were the ones in charge.
“I absolutely loved working with these two. They knew I’d be more comfortable just bouncing around, drinking beer.”
On the Ranch not only marks Nenni’s debut with Normaltown/New West Records, but it’s also the first album she’s recorded in a studio. She and Eli put together the demos in her basement when they returned from Colorado and then eventually headed to Laughing Heart Studios in East Nashville to record.
10 Fascinating Facts About the Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is revered for its world-class acoustics and long, storied history within country music. The venue began as a church — hence its nickname, “the Mother Church of Country Music,” and stained-glass windows — and quickly became a destination for live country music, helping popularize the genre and mold downtown Nashville into a rowdy, honky-tonk-filled destination.
Today, the Ryman Auditorium hosts residencies and concerts from not only country legends and hitmakers, but pop artists, speakers and more. However, there are some dark years in the building’s history; it was a now-legend who helped bring the venue back to its former glory.
How did the Ryman Auditorium become so iconic? Check out this list of 10 facts about the Mother Church to find out:
13 John Prine Lyrics That Prove He Wrote Like No One Else
Prine’s lyrical stories were both fantastical and simple; he wrote with a Midwest-bred honesty and humor that kept listeners on their toes. His catalog, spread over 18 albums, contains vivid stories (“Lake Marie”), insightful looks at the human condition (“Hello in There”) and sweet love songs (“Aimless Love”).
These 13 Prine lyrics — largely pulled from his songs’ choruses — are some of his very best: