At this moment in history we are all searching for some comfort, some hope to get us through another day. New Zealand singer songwriter Nadia Reid recently spoke about her new album and the power of music explaining, “A lot of the world can appear so sad at times but on the other hand, life is so tender and beautiful; art, music, and nature become our balm. Watching people sing and dance heals me. Walking in the hills heals me. I feel privileged to be a part of that healing.” And yes Out of My Province is indeed a healing listen – it’s a glorious sounding, rich-hearted record about finding your place in this ever spinning world.
The title, on initial reading, seems to refer to the central theme of travel, touring and being on the road. However it was actually inspired by an interview with celebrated Kiwi writer Janet Frame. Frame was asked if she ever contemplated her own place in literary history and she replied, ‘That question doesn’t reach me. It’s out of my province.’ I interpret that response as her belief that artists shouldn’t worry about their career or their critical reputation. The most important thing is to simply create. Words, and songs, once written no longer belong to the artist anyway. They travel roads to find listeners, readers, lives of their own.
As the title suggests many of these songs are about being out of your comfort zone, both geographically and emotionally too. As a travelling musician touring over the world Nadia experienced the highs of new experiences as well as intense homesickness, which inspired much of the record. She also worked with Spacebomb Records, their house band and producers for the first time – an inspired move which has really elevated her sound.
Separation and distance are the themes of the beautiful All of My Love. Despite being overseas she keeps her loved ones close. Musically the arrangements on this album are subtle and understated yet offer a depth of sound through the Spacebomb house band that makes the listener want to return to these songs again and again.
On High and Lonely she contemplates learning from love, and the brass sections just echo the beauty of the words. Best Thing is another love song in this grand style and it’s the beating heart of this album.
She uses travel as a metaphor for gaining life experience on Oh Canada. Longing for a place, for a person, for love itself is celebrated on this song which is inspired by the music of her Canadian heroes like Joni Mitchell and the Wainwrights. Traveling is about embracing new adventures, new experiences, new people. A song like this reminds me that one day soon we will all be on a plane somewhere filled with hope, not dread.
Other Side of the Wheel uses physical distance as a metaphor for the different journeys we all take in life. Musically its blissful sun-kissed melody is a stand out on the album. The quieter moments like Heart to Ride, Who is Protecting Me and I Don’t Wanna Take Anything From You really showcase her voice, and how emotionally expressive a singer she has become.
Sometimes to find yourself you need to go beyond your own horizons and seek new adventures – musically and in life. On ‘Out of My Province’ Nadia Reid internalises these experiences and has transformed them into the best album of her career to date.