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Soccer Mommy on touring with Kacey Musgraves and not being eaten by a wolf 

click to enlarge "Obviously I didn't ever get eaten by a wolf..."
  • "Obviously I didn't ever get eaten by a wolf..."
Some may be surprised by Soccer Mommy’s sudden ascension from lo-fi bedroom recordings to national tours with Kacey Musgraves, but Sophie Allison is not among them. Barely out of her teens, the Nashville artist with the suburban stage name conveys a quiet confidence in the midst of a major media push similar to the one that brought widespread attention to the no-less-melancholy Julien Baker.

“I was surprised but not shocked,” says Allison of being chosen by Musgraves, who won four Grammy Awards Sunday night, including Album of the Year. “We just submitted for her tour aggressively, because we wanted to do it really, really badly. So yeah, I was definitely excited, but I didn’t think it was that far of a reach, to possibly be doing that. I grew up here in Nashville, and it still has kind of a small-town feel, where everyone kind of knows each other.”

Allison’s career also hasn’t been hurt by signing to the influential Fat Possum label, which released Soccer Mommy’s proper debut album Clean last year. As cited frequently in articles and reviews, the artist has described her recordings as “chill but kinda sad,” a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tag that she may come to regret if her music becomes even remotely happy or agitated.

Like Courtney Barnett before her, Allison is also beginning to draw attention for her electric guitar playing, which favors a shimmery tone and dextrous patterns that bring to mind a less complicated Tom Verlaine.
“I think I’m writing better guitar parts now, more intricate chord structures, and I use a lot of arpeggios,” she says. “I actually use my pinkie finger a lot, which makes it hard for my guitarist to play my lead parts. Pretty much every guitarist I’ve ever worked with hates using their pink-
ie. It’s totally a thing.”

Allison has also added a full-time keyboardist to her live band, who will return to touring as Musgraves’ opening act while headlining more intimate gigs along the way. She speaks fondly of last year’s European dates, which found her joining the country-rock superstar onstage for a decidedly unlikely cover.

“I was in the audience the first time I heard them start playing it,” she recalls, “and I was like, ‘What song IS this, how do I know it?’ And then, the chorus came in and I realized it was NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” The next time, she invited me up to sing it with her, which was a lot of fun.”

Although the single was released a year before she was born, Allison says the group still played a role in her formative years. “Yes, I was a fan of NSYNC,” she says. “I actually have one of their records sitting on my mantelpiece right now.”

As for her own recent repertoire, Soccer Mommy’s music may be fairly restrained, but her lyrics are anything but. “Still Clean” likens her lover to a bloodthirsty wolf, while the video for “Your Dog,” a song that opens with the line “I don’t wanna be your fuckin’ dog,” finds her sitting on the sofa, cradling her boyfriend’s corpse.

“I mean, it’s all metaphor. Obviously I didn’t ever get eaten by a wolf and I wouldn’t kill anyone,” she promises. “But yeah, I think that I let my frustration and my darker feelings out into the music sometimes. I mean, just getting to release your emotions into something, into like a work of art, is amazing.”

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