• Current Release

    • Release
      Safe Distance
      March 19, 2021
  • Audio

          1. Nashville Girls

  • Download two new hi-res photos of Janet (photo credit: Jared Swafford), along with Safe Distance album art

    The highway’s empty nobody’s looking out
    We could be down the road before they know
    But we gotta leave right now

    There are few things that are more healing than getting the hell out of town. Maybe it’s a solo trip. Maybe you bring a friend. Definitely a lot of music. Don’t say a thing to anybody. Just get in the car and go. Work it out on the road.

    Safe Distance – the new album from singer, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, Janet Simpson, isn’t a concept record, but it does take a journey. From Nashville to Reno (well, almost), to running away from demons, retreating from your troubles, hiding in plain sight, and returning liberated – ready to skip away again while your past looks on with a dropped jaw. But nothing here rambles aimlessly: Simpson’s characters long to get free (and succeed) while navigating it all with confident purpose. They are reflective but never middling. They hurt but move to healing – or take the time to care for others. And they don’t shy away for a good time – even if they’re having too much of one.

    The songs of Safe Distance came to party as well. “Nashville Girls,” the album’s first single, kicks everything off with plenty of swagger and style – less an indictment of artists but those who are attracted to the noise art makes. “Reno” and the “Safe Distance” pair “Ditch Trilogy” Neil Young with Lucinda William’s gutbucket sense of meter. The [Dixie] Chicks would kill for a comeback song as breezy and carefree as “I’m Wrong” – a song born for a sunny-day-windows-down adventure. The Fender Rhodes powered vamp of “Mountain” is lust in search of the perfect parking spot. And “Wrecked” is an immaculate kiss-off that moves mercurially with slyly wicked lacerations worthy of Nick Lowe or Van Dyke Parks.

    But it’s not all raucous: The albums more subdued moments often conjure thick, stormy atmospheres. “Slip” and “Ain’t Nobody Lookin’” conjure the late night bleariness of classic Tom Petty but with choruses he could never pull off. “Double Lines” has a steely-eyed saunter the recalls the late Ennio Morricone. “Silverman” is so stark that it will leave you frozen in time. “Awe & Wonder” also takes advantage of the Rhodes – letting its bells ring out into an ether swimming in synthesized voices and fretless bass.

    This last detail is worth mentioning because some of the album’s sonic touchstones were late ’80s – early ’90s boomer statements by Bonnie Raitt, George Harrison, and Paul Simon – influences that were somewhat off the radar of the wunderkind engineer / mixer Brad Timko, who has been producing amazing records with a mix of analog and digital gear from the Communicating Vessels studio in Birmingham, AL, where Simpson and her band call home. Simpson and Timko worked closely in order to achieve the albums sonics, where minimalism reigned supreme. The songs were loosely written and rehearsed, but the band plays with supreme tautness, leaving plenty of room for Simpson’s powerful voice and lyrics – always sharp and occasionally hilarious – to haunt the air just so.

    Unbelievably, Safe Distance is the first time that Simpson has widely-released an album under her own name. This is not to say that she hasn’t been busy: Since getting her start in Atlanta in the late ’90s, Simpson has sheltered her dark whimsy under the guise of Delicate Cutters, wielded formidable guitar attacks with bubblegum skronkers Teen Getaway, toured the U.S. and Europe as a crucial member of Wooden Wand and the World War IV, and found a new writing partner in fellow Birmingham, AL musician Will Stewart – with whom she fronts the lean, atmosphere-forward duo, Timber, while also lending her many formidable talents to his solo material (and vice versa). It’s a lot to take note of – and still doesn’t cover her being the secret weapon on dozens of other albums for a wide array of artists. But Safe Distance proves once again that Simpson is a force of nature – and it’s her best work yet.

    Janet Simpson’s Safe Distance will be available on vinyl, CD and digital/streaming platforms on March 19th via Cornelius Chapel Records. Click here to pre-order. 


    Janet Simpson (photo credit: Jared Swafford)




    Tony Bonyata
    Pavement PR
    e: Tony[AT]pavementpr.com

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  • Here’s what critics have been saying about Janet’s new LP “Safe Distance”:

    • “… recalls prime Lucinda Williams. Simpson comes across like a veteran of the scene, an artist who has honed her idiosyncrasies, yet this album, while technically a sophomore effort, sounds like a debut. It has the power of a vital artist introducing herself and cordoning off her own patch of earth. Or at least her own corner of the bar.” – Stephen Deusner, UNCUT

    • [Acts to Watch: Janet Simpson] “… a brilliant genre-defying wordsmith with razor-sharp songwriting.” – Bobby Moore, WIDE OPEN COUNTRY

    • “Janet Simpson’s new single ‘I’m Wrong’ Is redemptive, uplifiting Americana. Cheerful guitar and harmonious backing vocals mix with fervent percussion to create this classic yet contemporary hit.” – Olivia Duff-Rogliano, MXDWN

    • NEW RELEASE PICKS: “ Gazing at the sleeve for Safe Distance, I kept imagining a mid-’70s private press LP heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell, but that’s not Simpson’s deal. Instead, think prime Lucinda Williams, but a tad more rocking, as if the players were recruited from Paisley Underground bands. Now, that isn’t to imply psychedelia, but rather Neil Young; Simpson’s Americana is appealingly tough. A- Joseph Neff, THE VINYL DISTRICT

    • “Janet Simpson’s Safe Distance is an album for those of us who love country music but didn’t bother to watch the CMA show, yet have an enduring love for the genuine music of Lucinda Williams, Kelly Willis, Margo Price, Jenny Lewis, and Shelby Lynne.” – Bill Golembeski, FOLKING

    • “Janet Simpson’s fine new track called ‘Nashville Girls’ really caught my ears.” – Bill DeVille, THE CURRENT / UNITED STATES OF AMERICANA

    • “Janet Simpson proved she could do swagger with the first single from her new album Safe Distance, the sassy ‘Nashville Girls‘, but the multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter is no one-trick pony. On the new single ‘Slip‘ she presents another side – there’s a slight edge of unease and a hint of latent peril conveyed through the guitar and vocal on this slow ballad. And some desperation. A musician of many parts and ‘Slip‘is the evidence that solo artist is far from the least of them.” – Jonathan Aird, AMERICANA UK

    • “The talent of Simpson is very evident as she shines on guitars, keyboards, synthesisers, percussion and sings in a richly warm vocal tone. Her delivery recalls different singers and, without making lazy comparisons, she displays an ability to change her vocal style across the songs, in order to suit the particular colours required. The players are all beautifully understated with a less-is-more approach to the arrangements and some terrific, melodic interplay. A very engaging album and one that will continue to garner praise as the year unfolds.” – Paul McGee, LONESOME HIGHWAY

    • “A lot of artists do the country rock thing, but few do it as well as Janet Simpson. Her latest single, ‘I’m Wrong,’ is exactly what you want from the genre: It’s a little too rock to be country, and a little too country to be rock. While it’s hardly pop country, it nuzzles itself into the pop side of outlaw country, reminding me of other favorites of ours like Nikki Lane or Tristen. In five months or so, this song is going to end up on a whole lotta playlists.” – Ken Sears , IF IT’S TOO LOUD

    • “Safe Distance is an unpolished gem, a collection that finally brings Janet Simpson to the front of the stage.” – Scott Foley, ROUTES & BRANCHES

    • “Simpson uses her smoky and smouldering voice to sing about love and lovers in a way that will leave you weak at the knees. She takes the Traditional Country Music ‘sound’ and puts her own indelible (occasionally edgy) stamp on it; making her songs uber-contemporary as she sings about and for women in suburbia all over the world.”- ROCKING MAGPIE

    • “Trying to stay a ‘Safe Distance’ from danger and trouble can mean freedom, rather than fear. Janet Simpson sings from an outsider’s perspective and a fine album of songs is the welcome result.” – Michelle Lindsey, HIGHWAY QUEENS

    • “Simpson has knocked it out of the park on her first album Safe Distance. There is not a wrong note on this record. It will be a long long time before I’m tired of this record.” – John Hyland , WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY

    • “I love when an artist comes out of nowhere and blows your socks off and that is exactly what Janet Simpson has done. Her formal solo debut, Safe Distance, is one knockout punch after another. Highly recommended.” – Dan Ferguson, TIME OUT