“Somewhere in trying to figure out how to craft a good song, I figured out how not to just write a pile of sad songs,” Nashville-based singer-songwriter Nate Fredrick says about his new album, Different Shade of Blue, set for February 26 release. “It’s not that my situation is different or even better, but I’ve found a different way to perceive my personal circumstances.”
The first single, “Paducah,” a love letter of sorts to the process of finding yourself through miles spent on the highway, is out today.
That same level of introspection is clear throughout Different Shade of Blue, 11 tracks recorded at Nashville’s Farmland Studios with producer David Dorn. The album sounds as familiar as what you might hear on a friend’s back porch, with lyrics bound to get stuck in your head, as Fredrick works through his relationship to both himself and his home—where he’s from as well as Nashville, where he moved in 2015.
A native Missourian, Fredrick learned to play guitar after his dad brought one home—that he never learned to play—when he was 12. He didn’t start writing songs until a decade later. His bluesy Americana style is the result of influences such as Guy Clark, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Van Morrison, to name a few.
“A friend and I were running from the police one night, and I accidentally fell off a cliff,” Fredrick says. “During the two-year recovery process, I started actually making music instead of just playing music. The first show I ever had, I played with my jaw wired shut.”
After moving to Nashville, Fredrick wrote more than 100 songs over the two years. “The album eventually came to encapsulate something bigger than me,” he says. “I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who were willing to grow together. It’s a culmination of the best I could give with a bunch of people who are now my best friends.”
“Be the One” offers a Randy Newman-esque look at mutually beneficial relationships that—well, aren’t exactly relationships.
The album’s title track, “Different Shade of Blue,” reminisces on how the grass isn’t quite always greener on the other side. “All Over You Again” offers a bit of wordplay: sometimes you want to be over someone but keep finding yourself all over them again.
“The Dreamer,” an ode of sorts to his songwriting heroes, Kris Kristofferson and the aforementioned Guy Clark, centering around a young man and the unattainable object of his affection. “Love Someone” offers the idea that every relationship offers something—sometimes a difficult lesson. “A lot of times learning to love someone else is more beneficial than receiving the love that you want at that moment,” Fredrick says.
“Caroline” is about that girl with a special aura about her, at once approachable and intimidating. “Forget Ever Loving Me” was inspired by unrequited love, or at least a joke about love.
Written in March 2020, “To the Night” contemplates the difficulty of seeing the bright side sometimes, especially when there’s an unknown element. “Long Overdue” reflects on how good things come to those who wait.
The affecting “Patches” bookends the album with a look at the lifecycle of people, things, circumstances, and everything between, told through three separate vignettes: an old pair of jeans, a hand-me-down car and a long relationship coming to an end.
Different Shade of Blue may be Fredrick’s introduction, but if these 11 songs and the energy they hold are any indication—there’s plenty more to come.