Guest contribution by Hallie Pritts, on behalf of Wrinkled Records.
Nashville is teeming with ludicrously talented, hard-working musicians. Of course, you know the usual suspects – the pop country stars, the classic country heroes. But there’s a whole other set of musicians who work quietly in the background. Their job – adding the finishing touches to the records of their more famous counterparts – is a holy pursuit. Often it is their talent that provides the je ne sais quoi that skyrockets a good song to greatness. We are, of course, speaking of the session musician.
Ms. Etta Britt is one of those musicians. A much-sought-after vocalist, Ms. Britt has been in the studio, on tour and on stage with Nashville greats for the last three decades. Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart and Mary Wilson of the Supremes have all benefited from her talent as a backup singer. And as a member of the chart-topping country group Dave & Sugar, Etta toured the nation with Kenny Rogers.
Now, though, Etta Britt has been given the chance to step out front with her first solo album, Out of the Shadows. It was released April 24th on Wrinkled Records, a new Nashville label with a lineup that also includes BJ Thomas and Jimbeau Hinson.
The album is a rich tapestry of blues and Americana music brought to life by Etta Britt’s palpable energy and passion. Blues legend Delbert McClinton makes an appearance in a stunning duet. Ms. Britt was kind enough to answer a few questions about her music, her career, her personal life and her new album.
What started you down the path to becoming a professional musician?
I started singing when I was in the fourth grade. I would stand in front of the mirror and sing into a hairbrush. When I was in the sixth grade, I went to camp. At the end of the two weeks, they had a talent contest. I won, and that put the fire in my belly to perform. I never looked back.
Tell us five words that describe your music.
Soulful. Insightful. Thought-provoking. Exciting. Groove.
Tell us about the music career of someone you really respect.
I’d love to have a career much like Paul Thorn’s. He travels a lot with his band members, who are dear friends. He makes his living off his tours and records. He has over 25,000 people on his Facebook page, and they adore him. That’s what I wish for from this record. I don’t look to be a superstar, but if that’s what is in the cards for me and what God wills for me, I certainly will welcome it with open arms.
What do you do when you’re not performing?
I love to bake, second to singing. I had a business for a while using my given name of Melissa. It was called Sweet Melissa’s Bake Shop. It was a delivery-based business, and I baked cupcakes, cakes, pies and cookies. I have my own recipes, and I used to make pies for South Street Restaurant in Nashville. My chocolate cream pie won third place at the Tennessee State Fair in 1989.
We have a 9.5 acre farm, and I love having free-roaming chickens. Right now, I have 15 baby hens, 1 baby rooster and 4 baby guineas. I can’t wait until summer, when we are getting fresh eggs. I miss it.
I also love gardening, and I’m very good with roses. I have two rose gardens, one on each side of my porch. We have our garden tilled, and we’ve planted lettuces and leeks. We’ll be planting corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, strawberries and more. I canned a lot of tomatoes last year, and we froze corn. I made pickles as well.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am proud to say I’m a Christian woman who loves my God, my family and my friends with all my heart. I appreciate all that is given to me and will never take it for granted.
Produced by her husband Bob Britt (guitar player to Wynonna, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, etc.), Out of the Shadows offers a soulful blues journey led by Etta Britt’s wildly powerful, energetic voice. As Delbert McClinton says, “Etta sings her ass off!”