KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s been one week since Knoxville native Emily Ann Roberts released her debut album “Can’t Hide Country,” and the singer/songwriter said it has been a “whirlwind” since.
Roberts spoke with WATE on Friday, one week after the album hit streaming platforms to share some of the things that make the album special to her. Roberts held a sold-out album release party at the Bijou Theatre.
“It was such an incredible night and so special to get to celebrate the album for the first time, sing those songs for the first time, live with my hometown, because I know without them, one, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And two, I know I wouldn’t be to the point in my career that I’m in because my hometown is just really wrapped their arms around me ever since The Voice and all these years in between to support me and chasing my dreams. And so I’m so thankful for them and to be an East Tennessee girl,” Roberts said.
“Can’t Hide Country” features 13 songs that Roberts said she poured her heart into, and while Roberts’ voice is the most prominent on the album, she was joined by Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill on “Still Searching.”
“I have to pinch myself when I say it out loud that I have Vince and Ricky on my album. But you know, it was incredible. Getting to work with them and hear their voices on the project,” Roberts said. “When I reached out to [Skaggs] to put his vocal on it and he was more than happy to do it that just… Goodness, I want to say made my day, but it made my whole life. I’ve looked up to him for so many years and I’ve actually never met Vince Gill and my team reached out to him to put his vocal on the song and he was more than happy to do so, which meant the world.”
She explained that Skaggs, who she met while on The Voice, and Gill recorded their vocals for the song separately and sent them in to be on the album. She said while she’s never met Gill, she hopes one day the three can perform “Still Searching” at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Roberts also explained that all of the songs on the album are her “babies,” but “The Building,” which is about the church she grew up in, and the title song “Can’t Hide Country” are both really special to her.
During the interview, WATE also asked Roberts what it was like to have her song “He Set Her Off” compared to Miranda Lambert’s “Gun Powder and Lead” and The Chicks’ “Goodbye, Early.”
“I was raised on some of the best country music. I looked up to a whole lot of women in country and Miranda Lambert was a huge influence of mine because. She was just. So real I felt like her storytelling, her songwriting, the way that she came across in a live show,” Roberts said. “She was just so authentic. And I always really gravitated towards that and now I’ve got some rootin’ tootin’ country songs on this project too that are real sassy and people have compared them to to some of her songs and that means a lot to be compared to somebody that you really look up to.”
Notably, Roberts wrote “He Set Her Off” with Parker Welling and Seth Mosley to capture the series of events that leads to the songs about “women losin’ it on their men in country music.” The music video for the song was filmed in East Tennessee and features a home being burned down, under the supervision of firefighters, as the Seymour Fire Department can be seen attempting to extinguish the damaged home.
“Can’t Hide Country” is available on streaming services, Roberts said, adding that there are also physical albums and she will have vinyl albums coming out soon. While she did not say if she has any Knoxville shows in the near future, Roberts did mention that she will be performing at Dollywood on Sunday, October 1 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
“I’ll be playing a whole lot of songs off this new project and some of the ones that I’ve released in the past as well. And of course we’re going. To do some. Dolly Parton songs and we might do. A little 9:00 to 5:00 and some other country covers. So it’ll be a really, really fun show. ” Roberts said.
She also added that she has a “really big announcement” coming up and that she will be going to places on tour that she hasn’t been, and she’ll “always come back to East Tennessee” as well.
To stay up to date with Robert’s music and career, she shares updates on her social media @emilyann_music or on her website, www.emilyannroberts.com.