Neptune City-by-way-of-Nashville’s Nicole Atkins was all set to drop her new album Italian Ice when COVID hit last year. She delayed it, and has only recently been able to tour it (QRO photos). She did some great livestreams, but wanted to do something more for the record, and for herself, so headed to Memphis to rework the songs with piano and strings, Memphis Ice.
Unlike her country-pop ‘70s throwback of Italian and other albums, on Memphis Atkins goes full-on chanteuse. And these are not simply remixes that are so prevalent these days, but real new versions, akin to St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION (QRO review) into MassEducation (QRO review). Yet the redoes aren’t overdone, usually still feeling stripped down, Atkins voice being so prominent (and no massive orchestra or organ). Certain pieces that might not have stood out on Italian, such as “St. Dymphna” and closer “In the Splinters”, do so here, big & bold Atkins.
COVID ain’t over, no matter how much we wish it was, so we’re still getting COVID records, albums we might not have gotten otherwise. Thankfully, Memphis Ice is a cool new take on Italian.