California-born, now Nashville-based singer-songwriter Emily Nenni knows how to tell a story. The narratives weaved through her new record, On the Ranch, serve as windows into the lives of new yet familiar characters. The album’s opening track, “Can Chaser,” pushes back on the stereotypes often haphazardly thrown at women in the rodeo scene.
“Go ahead and rope that steer, like men were built to do,” Nenni proclaims. “While she breaks away, you’ll break a leg. She’ll run circles around you.”
That spirit and tenacity are the thematic heartbeat of On the Ranch, a project produced by Alex Lyon and Chris Stapleton guitarist Mike Eli. Nenni’s stellar sophomore album was co-written with Eli, her longtime friend and frequent creative collaborator, in 2020 while working at a Colorado ranch. The result is a captivating, modern take on narrative-driven vintage country that positions her comfortably alongside peers like Charley Crockett and Kelsey Waldon, both of whom she recently joined on tour.
There’s a fierce sense of femininity that radiates throughout the record that expands far beyond a surface level. Strength and vulnerability come hand in hand as Nenni’s sweeping vocals paint us pictures of everyday life in its best and worst moments.
Lyrically, Nenni explores a range of slice-of-life stories, from gutsy kiss-offs (“Gates of Hell”), somber reflections on crumbled relationships (“Leavin'”), to the strain of isolation (“Get on With It”). Somehow, Nenni even manages to transform ABBA’s groovy “Does Your Mother Know,” reimagining it into a flirty honky-tonk tale.
Through captivating vocals, expertly crafted lyrics and rousing traditionalist accompaniment, Nenni truly hit gold with On the Ranch.
Before it hits streaming services and record stores tomorrow (Nov. 4), get an exclusive early listen of Emily Nenni’s On the Ranch in its entirety below.
You can find more information on Emily Nenni’s music and upcoming tour dates via her official website.