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Erin Rae on The String: The Quiet Candor of 'Putting On Airs'


Erin Rae’s sound is soothing and dreamy but her lyrics wrestle candidly with struggle and regret. That bewitching combination, plus a decade of patient development and experience in the supportive artistic community of her native Nashville, has made Rae's new album Putting On Airs one of the more anticipated and widely covered releases so far in 2018.

“Putting On Airs kind of encapsulates a lot of the different themes of the songs, essentially addressing this desire in me to be more honest and authentic with myself and how I relate to other people," Rae says in this new episode of The String. In the song “Bad Mind” Erin Rae wrestles with experiences as a girl in conservative Jackson TN that conditioned her toward repression and shame over her emerging sexuality.


Rae had supportive, musical parents who backed her decision to leave college and pursue songwriting in Nashville. She found community and support at open mics at Cafe Coco. Now she’s a mainstay of the East Nashville music network.


To make Putting On Airs, her second full length album, Rae and her band retreated to the quiet landscape of Appleton, WI and a former monastery now called the Refuge Foundation For The Arts.


“It was really awesome. We were there for about eight days, so it was really amazing to be kind of secluded and not able to go hang out with people in town. It was kind of like being at camp for writing or working on music.”


Not summer camp though. It was tracked in late February, and once it was finished, it found a home at John Paul White’s new label Single Lock Records. Erin Rae tours in the US and UK all summer long.


Also in this episode, an in-depth progress report on the National Museum of African American Music, being readied for opening in downtown Nashville in December 2019.


This is Episode 62 of The String, WMOT's interview and features show about culture, media and American music with Craig Havighurst. Find an archive of the show HERE.