A few years ago, Debbie Anthony mostly only sang for friends and family. This weekend, she’ll have a chance to do that again -- but at the release party for her second album, backed by Nashville and Rochester musicians.
In 2017, she released her first country album, “All Over Again,” which heavily featured songwriting by her husband, Mitch. That launched a career that’s still going strong in 2019.
Her second album, “More To Be Said” (recorded at MOXE Studio in Nashville), hits store shelves Friday, followed by that release party at the Civic Theatre Sunday. See her on stage with Rochester musicians Carl Stephenson and Drew Medin on electric guitar, Tim Scribner on bass, and Scott Kovar on drums, as well as her music producer Gena Johnson on backup vocals and Mike Webb on keys.
We caught up with the country songstress to talk about influences, recording in Nashville, and coming into her own.
What kinds of songs did you select for this second album? Is there an overarching theme?
At first, I was just looking for any song that was any good. Before the word had gotten out (about the new album), I would be sent probably 20 songs before I found one that I thought was really good. I would give those to my producer and say, “Any of these songs, are they possibilities?” Before long, it became evident that I was looking for songs about my life. The ones that really hit me, besides the quality, sometimes would be beyond that. They’d be about the journey of my life.
When you recorded your first album, “All Over Again,” did you see that turning into a full musical career?
Well, maybe at first, the first couple of songs, it was just kind of fun. “Faithful,” the first song my husband wrote, it (felt like) a hobby. But my husband had actually wrote that to jump-start my career. It was kind of a slow process - he would write the lyrics, or co-write with Tim Hildebrandt. I wasn’t looking ahead to Nashville or anything like that -- I was looking forward to performing more. And once I had the original songs, it made it more meaningful and fun.
How is “More To Be Said” a different project from “All Over Again,” as far as sound?
My husband was working on the lyrics (for “All Over Again”) and he knows me and my life, so in that way, it was really personal. He’s the one who knows me the most! I think Tim Hildebrandt, who co-wrote and produced for me, was more of a folk producer. I think it definitely had more of a folk feel to it. “More To Be Said” has a mix. It’s contemporary country, but it has some flavor of blues in it, some flavor of R&B, flavor of rock on one of the songs. It’s got the love songs, it’s got a lot of different feels to it.
You’re coming into your musical career a little later in life, after nearly three decades of marriage and family life. Has that helped or hurt you in any ways?
You know, if it’s hurt me in any ways, I don’t know it and I don’t care! I think it’s been exactly the time I should start, because I have so much experience. I used to be scared to be on stage. I’ve been singing my whole life, just developing that confidence, that maturity, just being comfortable with people and comfortable with who I am. All of that factored into rounding out who I am as a person, and who I am as a performer. Not to mention … I haven’t ruined my voice by singing for 30 or 40 years. I’d thought about that before, but no. I think it’s been good for me and happened at exactly the time it should be in my life.