Return to Plumb

Nashville songwriter rides wave of popularity
By Ron Wynn,
March 17, 2006

Although her music has been featured on several film soundtracks and her songs recorded by such vocalists as Michelle Branch, Mandy Moore, Kimberly Locke and Jennifer Paige, there are still many music fans that haven’t been introduced to the music of singer/songwriter Plumb.

Several factors are now broadening both Plumb’s appeal and exposure. Her new release Chaotic Resolve (Curb) cracked the top 10 (No. 9) on Billboard’s heatseekers chart and the single “Better” was heard repeatedly on ESPN in the weeks leading up to the last Duke/North Carolina basketball game.

Plumb, who plays 12th and Porter Sunday night, maintains that a singing career wasn’t exactly what she had in mind when she began doing harmony vocals at various gigs in Atlanta as a 19-year-old.

“I wanted to be a nurse,” Plumb said. “I was looking around for ways to earn money and that’s where the singing came from, because I’d sung all my life in church and in school choirs. It was strictly a way to put together the funds for nursing school. I didn’t really even think about it professionally until I just started getting more and more opportunities, and really loved doing it.”

That led to her relocation to Nashville, and eventually a label deal before she’d turned 21. But two albums later, Plumb left the company, although she cites working with producer Matt Bronleewe, an original member of Jars of Clay, as a major artistic turning point.

“Matt helped me in terms of songwriting and also with my confidence,” Plumb said. “That was another of those things, because we met when I was looking for a guitar. He was my neighbor and we wound up working together.”

But from those beginnings, Plumb has evolved both as a composer and a performer. The music on Chaotic Resolve features ambitious, lush productions underpinning a stirring, vocally urgent and demonstrative lead vocal style that has rock energy and conviction, but the flexibility to effectively operate in any lyrical or emotional setting. While “Better” — with its exuberant framework and animated singing — proved ideal for emphasizing the competitive fire in the Duke/UNC rivalry, such other songs on the CD as “Cut” and “I Can’t Do This” display more sides of Plumb’s personality. “Blush” is a tribute work chronicling her affection for her husband, with lines that are so personalized only the strength of her lead vocal keep them from sounding overly sentimental. “Real Life Fairytale” is another nod to the happiness in her off-stage life, but she balances things with more rhythmically stimulating, assertive material like “Good Behavior” and “Motion.”

“My family is a real source of strength for me,” Plumb said. “They enable me to do the things necessary to get my music out to more people and I’m really grateful, but you also have to a balance thematically on an album, and this one contains some harder tracks as well. I think it’s my best overall release yet, and I’m already really happy about the response to it.”