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MP3 Nicolette Birnie - Stonehorse

Revealing the romantic nature and enduring spirit of a true blooded horsewoman is this intimate blend of alternative country, americana and https://www.tradebit.comm the same soothing voice that tames wild horses.

13 MP3 Songs in this album (48:14) !
Related styles: COUNTRY: Alt-Country, COUNTRY: Americana

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I had just started singing with Lynni Gilfry in Santa Ynez, California (great horse country) and we had a band called STONEHORSE. Lynni and I had a “sister-harmony” sound and, being opposites, a chemistry our audiences loved. In fact we were getting pretty popular (on our street) in 1996 when my husband and I got a job offer we couldn’t refuse. We were going to be designing, building and managing a horse farm for country singer Kix Brooks (Brooks&Dunn) and his wife Barbara. I couldn’t believe we were going to Nashville, working for a country superstar and living on a horse farm to boot! As it turned out the work was so demanding that my music took a back burner, but I did keep writing and met a few key people, one of whom was Kent Wells. Kent was playing guitar for Reba McEntire at the time and I met him through band mate, Charlie (Chopper) Anderson who had a horse in training with me. Lynni flew back and we did some killer demos with Reba’s band, our first taste of a Nashville “session.”

One of my sisters who breeds Arabian horses in Texas (https://www.tradebit.com), also came to visit and fell in love with my song June. She suggested that I write a whole album of horse-related songs for the millions of horse lovers around the world. Well…that was the start of all this. It was a great idea but I had no clue how I was going to write meaningful songs about horses. It wasn’t until I began thinking about my own personal experiences - in terms of things I’ve experienced over and over again with horses - that I found the true inspiration for the songs.

Sadly, after two years in Nashville, both my marriage and job were over. I limped back to California with my daughter, Lanae. Devastated and Dead Broke (we were literally living in a barn) I needed to rebuild my life – making this record became something I had to do. Writing the music and finding the support to pay for the production was a daunting challenge on top of motherhood and my work training horses. As hard as it got, I’d invested so much into it that quitting was not an option. Eventually, my commitment to this goal became a magic carpet, taking me places I’d never been and teaching me things I so badly needed to learn. Now, after seven years, here it is – a labor of love and my dream come true.

The first few songs were recorded in Nashville in 2003 with Kent Wells and Tony Smith. Kent called some of his buddies (who play for Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks) into the studio and proceeded to completely blow my mind. Here I was making music with real pros: Kent and Tony, Terry Eldredge, Jimmy Mattingly and Steve Turner. All of these guys have credits with major artists as long as your arm. Slightly intimidating…but what a rush!

It took three years, from 2003 until spring of 2006, for the stars to line up just right to complete the album. During that time, one after another setback got in the way. First an injury to my neck immobilized me for 6 months. Next, I was passionately swept up in an equine rescue for about a year – 600 wild horses neglected and starving in my own town. It became the largest equine seizure in the history of the United States, (commemorated in the song, Black Heart). Then just as I was getting back on my feet, wouldn''t you know, in April 2005 a horse I was training fell and crushed my left foot. I knew, in those moments lying in the dirt, that the time had come.

During my convalescence, I crutched into the Durango Songwriters Expo in Buellton, CA and met artist-manager Steve Garvin. Talk about karma... I told Steve about the mustangs and he gave me Walt Wilkin’s CD, Mustang Island. Walt’s songs, voice and the band blew me away. Finally, I’d found the sound I wanted. One thing led to another and thanks to God’s graces and some very kind people, Lynni and I ended up in Nashville this past April with Tim Lorsch and Walt Wilkins producing the rest of the CD. They brought in Mickey Grimm (drums), Ron de la Vega (bass), Rick Plant and Russ Pahl (on guitars) and did a beautiful acoustic production laced with some great slide, steel and electric sounds. It was awesome. We had most of the music recorded within a week but Lynni and I weren’t happy with our vocals. We needed more time and fortunately our friend Rick Knowles in Santa Barbara was setting up a studio so we came back home and dove into learning how to use it and re-recording some of the vocals. A lot of great ideas surfaced during that time, (including the CD title change from Unbridle Me to STONEHORSE), and each trip back to Nashville gave engineer Bill McDermott (Dogden Studio) a fresh perspective on the mixes, which he nailed. (Thanks Bill!)

Hanging with “them boys” was real enlightening, though I think I managed to drive at least Tim crazy by being so particular about what I wanted. Bill McDermott got used to me and Walt checked out completely (Texas family fever). We got Russ and Rick to come back a few times and do some killer overdubs. Mickey gave his 2 (million) cents worth and helped pull one of my favorite tracks, Shakey, out of a nosedive. (Walt came back and gave me a T-shirt.) It was all fun but a very demanding process as well, and let me tell you, it''s tricky making a record when you’re a greenhorn. You’ve really got to hang in there with all the pressure and the self-doubt, etc. and keep focused on the music. But these guys were super sweet about it. They gave me all the rope I needed to hang myself. Fortunately, I’m good with ropes and everyone got happy in the end. Now we’d like to get lucky. We hope you’ll listen to this record and enjoy it as much as we do. Thanks.

– Nicolette Birnie

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