A New Frontier for Missy Raines

There’s a lot going on in Missy Raines’ life these days.

She’s in the studio with her band, The New Hip, working on a new album called New Frontier. Plus, she’s in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for it, and – in case that’s not enough – she and Chris Jones are preparing to deliver the Monday afternoon keynote address at IBMA’s annual World of Bluegrass conference in Nashville later this month.

The album, on pace to be released by Compass Records in early 2013, will plow ground that is familiar to anyone who follows Missy Raines and The New Hip, but with one big twist. The familiar part: Music that lives somewhere near the intersection of bluegrass and jazz – think mandolin, with percussion and electric guitar. The twist: At this writing, all of the songs are vocal numbers, whereas New Hip offerings to date have been heavy on instrumental selections.

“It feels completely natural,” Missy told me. “I’m a bass player who likes to sing.”

She’s quick to acknowledge that New Frontier won’t necessarily appease the purists, but she says, “I hear a little bit of bluegrass in there.”

As someone who was raised on bluegrass and who is the most-decorated bass player in IBMA history – she has seven statues and is a nominee again this year – that’s important. “I can’t not have that connection to bluegrass, because it’s all I know, and that never leaves you.”
The Kickstarter campaign runs through September 26, smack dab in the middle of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Conference. (Details online.)

So if it’s not bluegrass, what is the new album? “When I hear it, if I’m forced to put some sort of label on it, I’ve been calling it indie-rock-bluegrass,” she said. “The mandolin is still really prominent, but there’s also a lot of electric guitar.” And percussion. And a bit of keyboards, too.

Missy is trying to raise $12,000, and as of Thursday night (Sept. 13), she was just short of halfway. Backers are eligible for rewards ranging from digital downloads of the new music to private bass workshops, bowling with the band and house concerts. (Disclosure: I’ve made a Kickstarter pledge for this project.)

This is Missy’s first Kickstarter effort. “It’s a chance for people to help make something they believe in actually happen,” she said.


And if Missy’s current direction doesn’t appeal to you, stay tuned.

“Somewhere, way, way back in my head, there’s this little thing that tells me that someday I want to do a bluegrass album,” she said. “And I will.”

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.