Nicole Atkins will release Memphis Ice, a milestone new album and full-length performance film via Single Lock Records on Friday, December 10. It will be available on limited-edition vinyl and at all DSPs and streaming services; pre-orders are available now. Memphis Ice is a reimagined companion project to last year’s acclaimed Italian Ice album.
Memphis Ice was recorded live and is heralded by the release of the empowering first single, “Promised Land.” The music video for the single was recorded during the Italian Ice sessions, but never released.
“‘Promised Land’ is a song about losing your sense of self and finally having the courage to go find it again,” says Atkins. “Even if it meant losing people and places you loved. I wrote this song a long time ago. I was living in someone else’s dream and becoming a shadow. I’ve recorded this song a few times and it always felt too encumbered with a full production. When we went in to record Memphis Ice, I realized it was the perfect place and time to record ‘Promised Land.’ Raw and performative. Nothing to hide behind.”
Hailed by UNCUT as “clear-eyed, warm, and stylish,” Italian Ice was among the best albums of 2020, its warmth, vivid color, and a tilt-a-whirl variety of musical grooves providing much-needed positivity in what proved a very difficult year. Unable to tour behind the album’s release, Atkins began hosting a variety show from her attic. “Live From The Steel Porch with Nicole Atkins” soon received support from Amazon Music, with new episodes shot at Asbury Park, NJ’s famed Paramount Theater with such special guests as Kurt Vile and the Dean Ween Group.
The back-to-basics performances inspired Atkins to explore new and previously untapped flavors in her vocals and songcraft. Backed by an ace trio of Dan Chen (piano), Laura Epling (violin), and Maggie Chaffee (cello), Atkins recorded Memphis Ice live in one day at Memphis Magnetic studio, simultaneously filming the performance with painterly shadow and light. The stripped-down, smoky style of both brings all-new emotional vistas to fan-favorite songs like “Domino,” “Captain,” and “Forever,” while opening the door even wider to where Atkins would like to go next as a singer.
“I always thought about my Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli moment coming later in life,” she says. “But after we finished that day of recording, I had so much fun just singing and was so in the moment, I thought, ‘I want to do that sooner, I want to do that for my next record.’ I want to make a record of standards that are new if that’s possible. Songs that make you feel like you’re singing ‘Stardust,’ but you’re not. I kept thinking that on my first record, Neptune City the songs felt old, but they were new. Why can’t there be new songs that feel like the old standards?”
Indeed, that committed spirit of timeless songcraft has already earned “‘Promised Land’ is a song about losing your sense of self and finally having the courage to go find it again,” says Atkins. “Even if it meant losing people and places you loved. I wrote this song a long time ago. I was living in someone else’s dream and becoming a shadow. I’ve recorded this song a few times and it always felt too encumbered with a full production. When we went in to record Memphis Ice, I realized it was the perfect place and time to record ‘Promised Land.’ Raw and performative. Nothing to hide behind.” praise from avowed Atkins fan Elvis Costello.
“Songs don’t stop living when the red light goes out,” says Costello.” “Pulling the colors and curtains from the studio versions of these songs, you find yourself within melodies and their emotions. Borne up by some beautiful playing from the small ensemble, this is some serious singing.”
Atkins is currently set to embark on a wide-ranging tour schedule, including headline shows, support dates alongside Spoon and the Hives, and more. Dates get underway October 16 at Arden Gild Hall in Arden, DE – for complete information and ticket availability, please visit www.nicoleatkins.com/tour. To celebrate the release of her album, Atkins will also be presenting a global livestream event on December 10th at 9:00pm ET via the premium social live media platform Moment House. Tickets can be purchased here.
NICOLE ATKINS ON TOUR 2021-2022
16 – Arden, DE – Arden Gild Hall
17 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground *
18 – Portland, ME – State Theatre *
19 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance Theater *
21 – Port Chester, NY – The Capitol Theatre *
23 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel *
24 – Jersey City, NJ – White Eagle Hall *
26 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford †
28 – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl Nashville †
27-31 – Riviera Maya, MEX – Hard Rock Hotel & Unico **
18-25 – Miami, FL – Cayamo, A Journey Through Song
† w/The Hives
** The Avett Brothers At The Beach 2022