Photo by Anna Webber
“Rhonda Lee” is the alter-ego Nashville’s Nicole Atkins developed over years, but it wasn’t a healthy personality. It “started as my bowling alias, but became my drunken hag alias,” she recently told Rolling Stone, and Rhonda soon took over her life. Newly sober, Atkins details the transformation on her fourth album, Goodnight Rhonda Lee. It’s a darkly funny and frank record, buoyed by Atkins’ own sonic shift from rock-leaning songs to a country/soul hybrid that perfectly fits her voice.
You could imagine Bobbie Gentry, Dusty Springfield, or even Dolly Parton singing “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” an energetic torch song with a ’60s touch. It’s not so much confessional as confrontational, with Atkins battling that darkness head-on with a mix of cheery soul and grit.
“Darkness Falls So Quiet” appears on Goodnight Rhonda Lee, out now. Nicole Atkins plays live in our Studio 1A on Thursday, November 30 at 3 p.m. before a set at Antone’s later that night.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX