Janet Simpson ‘Ain’t One of These Nashville Girls,’ and That’s Fine by Her
BY MATT WALLOCK
I’ve spent exactly one night in Nashville, and from what I can remember, that night started out a lot like the scene depicted in Janet Simpson’s new video for “Nashville Girls,” premiering below: very silly, and very sloppy.
“Nashville Girls” is the swaggering lead single off the Birmingham singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s forthcoming album, Safe Distance, due in March. The accompanying flick—co-directed by Simpson and her friend Chance Shirley—is a karaoke montage that harkens back to the pre-Covid bar-hopping shenanigans of yore. The song, meanwhile, is about feeling out of place in those very settings.
“I ain’t one of these Nashville girls,” Simpson drawls in the sultry Americana cut. “They hold their hats and smile so easily, tattoos and bubblegum, worldly and naive / Their sidewalk stares and gentle quiet ways idling easy as a breezy summer day.” Eventually her vocals give way to a psychedelic guitar solo that doubles as an outro.
“I think most people probably know the feeling of being in a crowd and feeling like the oddball, or feeling invisible,” Simpson tells American Songwriter of the track. “I’ve certainly always felt this way… but you get to a point where maybe you can just own it instead of wishing you could be more like those girls who seem to work so hard to catch everyone’s attention.”
The video features members of a real-life improv group called Gladys. “I was a MTV fanatic as a kid, pretty much from the first day it aired, but my favorite music videos were usually the silly ones,” says Simpson of her inspiration for the production. “Chance Shirley approached me after I played a show one night about the karaoke idea for this song, with me and my band playing the earnest foils in the karaoke prompt screen. Chance and I have made a lot of music videos together. For this one, I enlisted the help of my friend Michael Greene, whose improv group, Gladys, was in the middle of leading a class. Greene, his Gladys partner Tim Casper, and their improv students participated in the video, which was shot on March 9th, , just before the pandemic sent everyone into lockdown.”