Recent transplant from Nashville, Natalie Prass, showed her new hometown what all the hubbub was about last night with a brilliant album release show to a nearly packed Broadberry. At turns soulful, meditative, joyful, and mysterious, the sweet-voiced Prass seemed primed and ready for the spotlight.
Earlier in the day at an intimate in-store held at Plan 9, complete with children chasing balloons in front of the stage, Prass previewed her songs. It was my first time meeting her and she was as sweet and personable as can be, signing albums and a lovely poster designed by Plan 9's Rob Sheley (she even had a Kiss t-shirt on, sure to please Style calendar editor Chris Bopst). Prass told me she was returning next week to Europe to open shows for Ryan Adams; she'll be back stateside for some dates leading up to an appearance at South by Southwest in Austin. [I'd wager we'll be seeing her national TV debut soon as well, once the album really launches this week. It's that popular with the critics].
Style interviewed her for a recent feature where she spoke about her undying love for Dionne Warwick. Childhood friend and co-producer Matthew White of Spacebomb is often mentioned in the national coverage; I asked him at Plan 9 if he had seen an uptick in requests to record at his Richmond studio, and he said "not yet" though he was sort of anticipating it.
People who loved the album will really appreciate her dynamic live show, which features a slimmed-down, fantastic backing band that includes local musical genius Trey Pollard on guitar and occasional keys. Local musician and producer Adrian Olsen of Avers was at the show and told me Pollard was one of the most unique and creative musical minds he's come across in Richmond. High praise.
The highlights last night were many: Although Prass didn't perform a Kiss cover as she teased earlier in the day, she did bust out a beautiful, sultry rendition of the Janet Jackson classic "Any Time, Any Place." She had a string section join her for a mesmerizing rendition of original tune, "Christy." Also Prass noted during her set that she was able to walk to the show from her apartment -- always a plus.
I have some amateur video from my iPhone of several songs including the original "Never Over You;" the Janet Jackson cover and "Christy" below.
Also, Prass released a new video today for "Why Don't You Believe In Me" on NPR's site.