Album: Norman Rockwell World
Label: Jeff Hyde Records
Release date: February 23, 2018
Already a Grammy-nominated songwriter and longtime member of Eric Church's touring band, Jeff Hyde makes his solo debut with Norman Rockwell World. Produced by fellow songwriter Ryan Tyndell, the 10-track album arrives February 23.
Over the past dozen years, Hyde has written many country hits for other artists, including Eric Church's chart-topping singles "Springsteen," "Record Year" and“Round Here Buzz.” A long line of artists including Alan Jackson, George Strait, Bobby Bare, Luke Bryan, Charlie Worsham, Nikki Lane and Becky Buller have also put their own stamp on his songs, but still much of his material remains unused. It’s a natural result of Hyde being one of Nashville's busiest songwriters, in an industry where more songs are written than are ever heard.
Norman Rockwell World rounds up 10 of those untouched compositions, including songs written alongside fellow hitmakers Michael Heeney, Clint Daniels, and Casey Beathard.
"When you write for a publishing company for years, you eventually wind up with songs you're proud of that are just sitting on a shelf," says Hyde, who landed his first publishing deal in 2005. "That was part of the reason for doing this record. We wanted to take some of those best songs and give them a life."
A native of Marshall, Texas, Hyde moved to Nashville in 2001. He was raised on the sounds of artists such as Keith Whitley, Tom T. Hall, and The Statler Brothers — chart-topping country singers who wrote many of their own hits. "You could turn their records around and look at the back to see who wrote the songs," he remembers, "and the singers were also the writers. I always knew songwriting was the core thing I wanted to do in the music business. I wanted to start with that foundation, anything further would be a bonus.”
Per the press release:
Norman Rockwell World roots itself in Hyde's songwriting chops, and also introduces him as a talented vocalist who delivers a song with the same finesse he uses to spin a lyric. He sings each song in a welcomingly strong voice, one that may be familiar to Eric Church's fans who have seen Hyde play acoustic instruments and sing harmonies in Church's band for more than a decade. He beefs up his sound with everything from banjo riffs to mandolin solos. The music itself nods to his longtime influences — including 1980s trailblazers like Don Williams, Whitley, and Vern Gosdin — without losing its modern appeal.
With his solo debut, Hyde plants one foot in the classic twang of his favorite writers, then points the other toward more progressive sounds. This is the sound of a country veteran getting his overdue share of the spotlight, stepping up to the mic for a batch of songs that are as warm and slyly nostalgic as Norman Rockwell's artwork itself.