In the long-ago days when live music was a thing, it was a treat to see Arna Georgia play live. She has a fantastic voice, clear and smooth, and performs with humour and heart. She’s the sort of performer whose set you never want to end. And you won’t want her debut album, Yes Girl, to end either, as she brings those qualities into the recording of ten songs, nine of them originals and one a cover of Delbert McClinton’s ‘Two More Bottles of Wine’.
It’s clear that Georgia loves traditional country music and song structure, yet doesn’t sound like she’s trying to be from another time or be another age. She’s a young woman, and her songs reflect her experiences, as they should. But she’s also a proper, pragmatic adult with a measured view of the world that doesn’t veer into or indulge in cynicism, or overplay emotion for the sake of it.
Yes Girl is, in subtle ways, a handbook for living. ‘1998’ is a song about grief but there’s no wallowing – in this way it becomes a song that could actually comfort someone who’s grieving. ‘Story for the Kids’ takes the long view on the missteps of life. ‘Passing Through’ gives us permission to not stay stuck.
The album was recorded with Nash Chambers in Nashville, and while Georgia no doubt benefited from Chambers’s experienced hand, these are her songs and each is a carefully crafted, intriguing story that takes the listener on a journey then carries them on to the next. You can savour each short journey or take the whole trip, but what’s for certain is that you’ll want to travel that road over and over again.
Yes Girl is out now.