There has been a big buzz going on around Nashville as of late concerning Heidi Feek and her new album, “The Only.” Feek is the daughter of country duo Joey+Rory, and she admits that her R&B / Blues edge might take some by surprise given the traditional lean of her parents.
“Sometimes, the lady who runs their Facebook will post about my new video and ask people to check it out, which is really nice because they have such a large fan base,” she tells Billboard. “It’s nice to be tied in there, but for every 30 people or so that seem to love it, there’ll be one that will say something like ‘She’s just like Miley Cyrus.’ Some people aren’t going to like it. A lot of people love them because of their being traditional country, and I’m not traditional country. I have a lot of traditional influences that weigh heavily on my style, but I wouldn’t say that I am traditional country by any means. But, I think it’s something their fans can get into. I have some stuff that they seem to really life that pulls enough from those influences that they can recognize that as something they like to listen to, which is nice.”
What did influence Feek? She says a lot of different styles, but there was one artist from Memphis, in particular. “When we moved to Nashville, Dad was listening to a lot of Chris Isaak, and he always listened to Elvis. I loved Marty Robbins and Willie Nelson, but Elvis was always the standard. And, early Elvis. We pretend like the later years of Elvis never existed. Somebody just gave me the book Careless Love, and I’m scared to read it, because I like to pretend the downfall of Elvis never actually happened,” she says. “The One” contains a seductive and dreamy cover of “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Feek admits to having many memories of Elvis’s residence as a child. “We went to Graceland when I was younger. Dad would go back to Dallas and play the clubs, and we’d stay with our family. We’d stop at night in Memphis, sleep in the car at the Shoney’s parking lot – me, Dad, and my younger sister.”
Her father elaborated about those trips up and down Interstate 40. “We’d drive back overnight, and we’d get in Memphis around 1 or 2, and drive over to the Shoney’s, wait until the sun came up. The kids ate for free at Shoney’s, so we’d go in and have breakfast. Then, we’d go in and spend the day at Graceland.”
Rory was very influential in his daughter’s love of music, Heidi recalls. “Dad bought me a guitar when I was fifteen. I started learning how to play, and how to write about the same time. I’ve been writing since then, but I would hope that nothing that I wrote anytime near there would ever see the light of day.”
Of the original material on “The Only,” Feek is particularly pleased with “57 Bel Air,” which takes her back in time. “When we moved here in 1995, the car my dad drove everywhere was a 1956 Chevy Bel Air. I remember about that time for Halloween I dressed up as a 50s girl in a poodle skirt and saddle shoes. I actually wore that a lot not during Halloween. That influenced this song, but instead of ‘56, ‘57 just sounded better. We still have that car,” she says.