Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and now adding to the list, producer, up and coming artist Devin Rae has gracefully entered the music scene with the release of her debut album, Middle Of Nowhere. With each passing song, vivid lyrical imagery launches the listener into a new adventure; one feels as though they have taken the ride right alongside the 23 year-old artist. Trimmed with the stylings of Western and Traditional Country music - with a splash of Rock in the mix - vocals that spout raw authenticity, and tastefully arranged instrumentals wrap Devin's honest, real-life experiences up in a tight little package that you'll want to open again and again.
Born and raised in Preston, Idaho - a small farming community in the southeastern corner of the state - Devin Rae developed a love for agriculture and the Western way of life, very early on. Her fondest childhood memories are generally splattered with images of riding on a swather with her grandfather, or working horses from sun up til sun down, all summer long. Having discovered an inclination toward music at the age of four, when she first picked up a fiddle, her passion for cowboy culture quickly began to resonate through her music. She became intrigued, and almost entranced by the trilling fiddles and twangy vibe Western music emits. The singer recalls experiences changing the radio in her mother's car to a Country station, every time they went to town. "Neither of my parents were Country music fans at all. My mom listened to Pop or Soft Hits, and my dad is a hard core Classic Rock kinda guy. I guess I just annoyed my mom enough that she finally left the station there - still working on dad though," she says with a chuckle. As the years rolled by, Devin only thirsted for more. She began to play the piano at age six, and in her own words, things "spiraled out of control from there." She began to write lyrics and create melodies in junior high school, and even composed a fiddle solo or two. It wasn't until high school, though, that her songwriting kicked into high gear. Drawing on the musical influence of artists such as Chris LeDoux, Brenn Hill, and Clint Black, she picked up her father's old guitar, and began to teach herself chords to accompany her lyrics. Not yet having much confidence in her singing ability, her songs became more of a musical journal. Many hours were spent, either on a tractor or the back of a horse, belting out tunes, and working to find and strengthen new vocal techniques, before she finally felt comfortable enough, in her last years of high school, to play her music for others.
"When I write a song, I hear every instrument that I want in that particular song, the notes it will play, when it comes in and cuts back out, and where it will be in the speaker. I came to a point with my writing that playing the guitar with my songs wasn't enough, anymore - that, and I didn't have anyone to start a band with," she said, regarding her songwriting. Always seeking out a challenge, Devin taught herself to play the banjo, mandolin, and bass, all of which became crucial tools in the construction of her debut album. Middle Of Nowhere came to light about a year and a half after Devin got married and moved halfway across the country to a tiny town in Southwest Kansas; it's a product of the experiences she has had while living there. "We left to come out here the day after we got married. So not only did we have to learn how to handle living with each other, but we had to learn how to live having no one but each other," she says with reflecting back. "Not only that, but I was used to the security and recreation that the Rocky Mountains provide, and in Kansas you can see for a hundred miles in every direction!" she jaunts. "At times it has been rough, but I learned at a very young age that nothing good comes without a lot of hard work, and you make your own dreams come true," says the singer. "Whether I was perfecting a violin piece for a competition, or trying to put a good handle on a horse, I knew that I wouldn't excel if I didn't give it my all."
Middle of Nowhere is a manifestation of that very work ethic. Not only was the album written, recorded, and otherwise produced almost entirely by Devin Rae, herself, it was released on her own d-R Trailing Star Productions label. Her lyrics, although simple and conversational, rouse the senses while conveying honest, straight-forward messages; and the listener can almost feel the genuine emotion with which each song was born. Amongst the rise of negativity that seems to be encompassing the world, these days, this album is a breath of fresh air. It's toe-tapping collection of originality will make you long for the good ol' days, and help you push through the hard times. But most of all it will leave you with the feeling that everything will work out - that life is good.