This is not the end.
True to the title of her most recent single (grab it here), Americana songstress Liz Longley is just gettin’ started! A Berklee grad with critical acclaim, some impressive touring partners (hellooo, Johnnyswim), and some famous fans (John Mayer thinks she’s awesome), Liz is taking the Nashville scene by storm. Her vocals are both airy and weighty, effortlessly weaving in complicated melodies till they feel like a simple exhale. It’s rare that you come across a talent that can stand behind a mic with a guitar and captivate an audience (especially in a community where we have access to incredible performers so often we can get desensitized), but Longley is consistently arresting in her delivery. And guess what, y’all? You can see her tonight at The Rutledge for Americana Fest! We chatted with the Nashville transplant about life on the road, iced tea, and Jack White collaborations:missing or outdated ad config
Is this your first time playing Americana Music Festival?
It is! I had to leave town last year during Americana Fest and I was so bummed, so I made it a point this year to be around for it. I’m so glad to be a part of it, too!
What makes this different than a regular Nashville gig for you?
There are just so many people playing. It’s a different energy in town – people are exciting about what’s going on, and it’s a gathering of like-minded people that appreciate this kind of music. I’ve only been to one show so far, but it was amazing. It was John Legend and Lee Ann Womack doing a taping for Crossroads, and it was so magical.
That sounds incredible. So you graduated from Berklee?
Yes! Berklee College of Music. I stayed in Boston for another two years after I graduated, then I tried NYC for a few months and it didn’t work out. I came to Nashville in late 2011.
Why was Nashville a better fit for you than New York or LA?
It’s really hard to be a musician touring out of your car, when every time you get get home from the road you have to look for two hours for parking then wake up and do it again. This area is just far more musician friendly in that regard.
There seems to be a tight-knit community at Berklee (alumni even host their own monthly jam sessions at The Rutledge) that mirrors the Nashville vibe. How is it similar and how is it different?
The only way it is different is that it’s smaller, but I feel like I will forever have a Berklee family no matter where I go. It’s a close group of people who support each other and play together and write together and tour together, and I think it will always be that way. That’s the great thing about picking up and moving here; I knew I already had a lot of friends.
What was it like as an artist diving into a new community and becoming a part of the scene?
I had never cowritten much before I moved here, and it’s such a huge part of this town. I decided to just dive in, and I’m so glad I did. In my first four months I cowrote about 40 songs with 4o different people. It was a whirlwind, and such an amazing way to meet people. Most of my friends that aren’t in that group I still met through networking within the songwriting community. People are all about music here. I love the people! It wasn’t too hard.
We see you easily funded the Kickstarter for your next record. What can we expect from the new album?
Well, I made the album two years ago, but I didn’t want to fully release it on my own. So many people put so much time and energy into it, which gave it weight to me. I’m about to team up with a label to release it, so I’m really excited about that. I made it here in Nashville at Ocean Way Studios with some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard or met. They’ve played with my heroes; James Taylor, Etta James. Playing with them was a huge honor. On the record, you can just tell there are some amazing musicians on it. I’m proud of the record for that reason for sure.
Who are you excited to see perform at Americana Fest?
Buddy Miller! I absolutely love Buddy. Lee Ann Womack and Sam Outlaw too! There’s so much going on at Centennial Park during the day today, and then I play The Rutledge tonight! So much to do, so little time.
What advice would you give someone who is trying to make it in Nashville?
Just get involved as much as you can. Get out there and don’t be afraid. There’s an amazing group of welcoming people awaiting you.
Here’s a round of our fun little Nashville questions. First one: favorite breakfast in the city?
I love Portland Brew because I live right down the street. It’s not only about the food, it’s about the people. And the iced tea!
Holland House! I love the Chelsea Sidecar, but they don’t have it anymore. (ed. note: it’s back for the season! Rejoice.)
Best thing to do on a Friday night?
I’m usually not at home on Friday because I’m touring, but I know that the first thing I’m dying to do when I get home is go for a run at Shelby Park.
Favorite place to play?
3rd and Lindsley!
Best night you’ve had in Nashville?
Getting to open for Johnnyswim at 3rd and Lindsley. It was sold out – just jam-packed – and sponsored by Lightning 100. I was touring with Johnnyswim at the time, and it was just an incredible night.
If you could form a duo with any other Nashvillian, who would it be and what would you be called?
Ha! Okay, well it would have to be a dude. I don’t know, this is hard! I’m tempted to say Jack White because he is so different from me. OK, Jack White, and we’re called “Gargoyles of Heaven” (laughs). He’s a little dark, I’m a little light.
You heard it here, Nashville. This is just the beginning for Liz Longley, and you’re definitely going to want to catch her stellar performance at The Rutledge tonight! For all things Nashville, from live music to happy hours to the best breakfast in town, check out Wannado. We’ve got you covered.