It seemed like a good idea to film the video for “Each Season,” the single from Nora Jane Struthers’ upcoming album Champion, at the Americana singer-songwriter’s own home near Nashville. That was, until the roof fell in — literally.
Neilson Hubbard, who produced Champion and produced and co-directed the video — premiering below — with Joshua Britt, had pitched Struthers and her husband/bandmate Joe Overton on the idea of using the house for the clip. “The song is about time and it sort of changes when you have someone you love and everything,” Struthers tells Billboard, “and they said, ‘We want to use your house. It’s so cozy and looks so lived-in and loved.’ And I was like, ‘Great. I love it.'” Then Struthers went on tour and came home to discover that “the dining room ceiling was on the floor” due to some construction issues. The couple subsequently removed and rebuilt the ceilings in all of the rooms in the house — all with the video shoot date looming and the rest of her band scheduled to come to town to be in it.
“(Overton) and I were working our asses off all of July trying to get this thing done,” Struthers remember. “The week before the shoot I called Neilson and said, ‘Man, it’s not gonna happen. We won’t be moved back in. It might be a construction site, a mess.’ But he said, ‘It’ll probably be better if it was empty; We can illustrate the passing of time by adding furniture and adding people,’ and I said, ‘OK, if that’s what you think…’
“And then he came over the day of the shoot and said, ‘Omigod, this is perfect! You never get a house with nothing in it.’ So we shot for two days, the first day with absolutely nothing in the house, the second day with the band, and it turned out great. It was the easiest video shoot I’ve ever done, even if the whole month before was pretty intense.”
Struthers releases Champion, the follow-up to 2015’s Wake, on Oct. 13. Using the same lineup of players, the sound is bulked up and more confident. “I feel like we kind of settled into our sound on this record,” Struthers acknowledges. “The last record was sort of our first electric project and there were a lot of growing pains. This one was so easy and natural because we’d been playing shows together for a long time. It feels more solid to me.” Lyrically, meanwhile, Struthers remains deeply personal and unguarded, inspired by her marriage as well as fertility issues as she and Overton try to start a family.
“It’s not that it’s scary to open up. The scariest part is being honest with myself,” Struthers says. “As a performer one of my primary missions is being able to present myself as honestly as possible on stage. There’s a healing element of that, both for me and for other people. I’ve been inspired by watching artists who are willing to be fully themselves on stage; When someone else does that, it gives you permission to do it. So that’s one of my goals, and I feel like (Champion) gets even closer to that.”