Ro Myra’s "Nowhere, Nebraska" feels too assured to be tagged with the word “debut,” but that’s what it is. From her website bio, it appears like a premiere long in the making, while other commitments and careers took precedence.
So her first appearance on record has the swagger and confidence in her voice and in the construction of the tunes — a singer-songwriter album with country leanings and touches of rock ‘n’ roll.
The nowhere in the title refers to her hometown, while she’s spent time in Montana as well.
Her background comes through in lyrics to songs like “Irene,” a story of moving on from an abusive relationship. (“In the desert you either dry up or drown, just like the small town you never left, the hope you lost and never found.”) Another song, “Half the Time,” addresses the way alcoholism plagues relationships. Myra's not sugarcoating the difficulties of rural life in the first half of the album, but her vocals and harmonies draw you in.
The arrangements veer into sober yet cosmic country territory — on “More Than Just Okay,” she overdubs her voice and treats it to some electronic effects and sparkling guitar and pedal steel washes that match themes of renewal in the lyrics.
“Railroad Weed” sets her backing band’s tasteful guitar and pedal atop some drum machines. Paired with the reverb guitar, it’s among the more unique arrangements on the album. (She recruited an impressive backing band in Nashville, including Joshua Grange, who’s worked with Lucinda Williams, Bright Eyes and Stephen Malkmus.) Those sonic touches hint at more idiosyncratic work to come.
The album is available on Bandcamp at romyra.bandcamp.com.
Myra will have an album release show here in town with a full bill — Teague Goodvoice, Maria Zepeda and Arrowleaf. It’s set for Saturday, Sept. 25, at Free Cycles, 732 S. First St. W. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.