The opening chords of the first track, “Inside,” on award-winning, singer-songwriter, author, and activist Chely Wright’s new record, I AM THE RAIN, are direct, purposeful, and intense – a sound that defines the brilliant album. After more than five years away from the spotlight, and through a heroic personal and creative journey, Wright has returned with the release of a long anticipated new CD. And as she begins to sing the lyrics of “Inside,” her confidence, intelligence, and poetic ambition quickly come into focus.
When it came time to record her new album, Chely knew it was going to be different from everything she had done in the past. Scheduled for release on September 9th, Wright and multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning producer/artist Joe Henry (Allen Toussaint, Bonnie Raitt, Carolina Chocolate Drops) approached the work as a new beginning. Her recent songs were coming from a place of total openness and spoke to the kind of self-discovery that changes lives.
“He (Joe Henry) taught me to understand that a great deal of making music is intention, and then to trust those intentions all the way. As terrifying as it could be expressing some of these feelings, those have become my best moments. That let me reach for my best self and trust what I found when I did that; and to not be afraid about being imperfect. Instead, just be able to let go.” On her new album, Wright finally realizes all those dreams of making music that comes from her deepest soul. She has arrived, and we are among the lucky beneficiaries.
Her 2010 Random House memoir, LIKE ME, describes a life of dizzying heights as well as terrifying lows. The truth is told, no matter how painful it might be. As the artist wrote about her coming out as a lesbian, she also struggled with facing all the trauma and inner turmoil she had been through.In speaking about the musical and emotional breakthrough of I AM THE RAIN, it is quickly clear that Chely could not have come to this place without writing her honest and telling memoir LIKE ME, where she speaks so openly of a life sometimes lived in the shadows, and the price that demanded.“Something became free in me when that happened. That process of freedom led to a new way of living. Before the book my object in life was to stay concealed, and I tended to write that way. But now I can write from the inside out, and it completely changes what I can do. I was no longer afraid.”
I AM THE RAIN is a new beginning, but one that is built on the bedrock work of a musical survivor. Milestones achieved include working with Joe Henry, writing with him, Edie Carey and Rodney Crowell, singing with Crowell, Emmylou Harris and the Milk Carton Kids, recording a Bob Dylan song (“Tomorrow is a Long Time”): the list continues. Asked to sum up this hugely significant step in her life, Wright doesn’t hesitate.
“I believe I’ve given birth to a beautiful new baby and I would like people who see my baby to think it’s beautiful too. That’s how much this new music means to me. I am so very lucky it all came true.”