Zoe Butler - Old New England Town by the Sea

July 11, 2022

I first fell in love with Zoe Butler’s music with her very first release called “Shenandoah Blues”. Starting with a simple piano melody and her soulful vocal, she draws you in for the full band to bring you home from the second verse. But what I feel is Zoe’s true gift is her lyricism. I simply can’t explain without giving you a taste. “If Virginia is for lovers then why’d you leave me here? And if I never said I need you, I should have made that clear. And now I'm lucid it in the gymnasium where you told me you were broken. And I’m still holding.”

Raised in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and moved to Nashville to launch her music career, Zoe Butler’s music appeals to the part of you that longs for home. She is a story teller and at only 24, the roots of her music draw on songwriters from before her time. “My music has definitely been influenced by what my parents listened to when I was growing up. My dad loved James Taylor, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen. My mom listened to the local country radio station everyday. I was so interested in their music that I really missed out on the 2000s music and had to learn in high school. I honest to god didn’t hear a Brittney Spears, Gwen Stefani, or Lil Wayne song until I turned 15 or 16 (although I do love all those types of songs now)!

Zoe came from a creative family. Her parents are actually in the process of publishing their own manuscripts, her uncles were in a band together and her aunt has published her own poetry. Born with a twin sister, who she grew up with painting, writing stories and poetry as well as playing music together, you could say she’s been preparing for this her whole life. “My twin sister was actually writing songs before I was. I think writing music always felt like a natural extension of learning to play the piano and the guitar”.

Her newest release, “Old New England Town By the Sea” has an intimate appeal, with just her and a single acoustic guitar, it feels like a conversation. It’s a love story, and an opinion - and a memory. It’s about living a simple life, and about all the hopes and dreams that come with it. Again her lyrics show more than I can say, “Everybody says I should want the city life, the fancy job, the high rise, but I’ll give up ambition for these brick buildings and cobblestone streets, for this old New England Town by the sea.” It frames a beautiful bittersweet watercolor image, without directly mentioning how much of the song is framed around a boy named Luc she dated the summer before he died, and how he influenced not only her, but her music - introducing her to artists like Johnny Cash and Lou Reed. “He introduced me to a lot of new music that really changed the course of my writing”.

With these two releases, she is already starting to build a bit of a following, but there is certainly more to come. “This past spring I recorded six original songs with producer Mike Fahey. I’m planning on releasing two more as singles and then all six in an EP in late August, early September.Zoe worked with musicians Jon Eldridge, Noah Denney, and Eleanore Denig on most of the songs to add percussion, bass and strings. The entire EP is dedicated to two of her high school friends (Luc & Rosie) who took their own lives. “Most of the songs are about Luc. Some of the songs on the upcoming EP like “Hitchhiker’s Guide” combine my love story with Luc with pieces of history from subsequent boyfriends”. Perhaps it is because her songs were written as a personal extension of herself that they feel as intimate as they do. “Even though I’ve always dreamed of releasing music, I really never thought it would be possible until I met Mike Fahey. He took my songs that are so intimate and turned them into works of art that can stand alone.”

I for one, can’t wait to hear the rest of her EP and more to come in the years ahead. So if you haven’t already done so, please make sure you follow Zoe and listen to all her music on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you get yours.

Also, make sure you follow the playlists below to discover incredible new music every day.

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Written with love by Joe. "Old New England Town by the Sea" has been added to our "Indie Music" and "Artist Pick" playlists on Spotify.