Callie McCullough introduces herself to the Nashville community with her debut EP, After Midnight, which Billboard premieres below. The deeply personal six-track project, out Friday, highlights the Canadian singer-songwriter’s whispered vocals alongside descriptive songwriting and ace musicianship provided by members of Union Station and the Time Jumpers.
“I’ve always fallen in love with the ballads and broken-heart stories, so there is a delicateness in this album and a common thread weaving these songs together,” she tells Billboard. “It’s nostalgic, hopeful, romantic, thoughtful and for me, it’s just honest. I hope it is the kind of album people will put on a record player, pour a glass of wine and listen to late at night. I was finding myself in these songs and in these years. To be able to really capture who you are so vulnerably and honestly in an album is not something I take for granted and I have to credit my producer, Dustin Olyan, for that vision and helping me bring it to life.”
While heartbreak ballads like “No Good Way” showcase McCullough’s emotive vocals alongside delicate plucks of the acoustic guitar and banjo, her vulnerabilities shine through on EP standout “Five Dollar Pearls.” A confessional tune about not fitting in, McCullough says it is her most personal song on the project.
“The song ‘Five Dollar Pearls’ is my most personal story and favorite recording; it’s my heart on my sleeve feeling like I don’t belong, and I think we’ve all felt that way,” she says. “Dustin and I built it from the ground up. He played almost every instrument on it and captured the spirit of the song perfectly. To me it’s magical.”
Additional highlights include the breathtaking “Three Quarter Time” — the singer’s Nashville story – the sweeping title track, and bluegrass-infused “Missing You.” McCullough says when sitting down to write “After Midnight” with Scotty Kipfer, the pair set out to write something “wistful and Parisian” with a “a whimsical dream-like lyric and melody.”
“The title track ‘After Midnight’ is another favorite of mine. I’m over the moon about the way the recording came to life in the studio like a beautiful dance through Midnight in Paris complete with violins and accordions,” she says. “This album was a labor of love for not just me but for my whole inner circle; my immensely talented producer Dustin Olyan who saw the artist I could become along with Scotty Kipfer (associate producer and co-writer) and Ryan Sorestad (co-writer) who helped me find my voice in these songs.
“We met as the new kids in town, weathered a lot of highs and lows over the past few years and really built this thing together. I am incredibly proud of this album and the people who made it with me so I’m ecstatic to finally let her fly into the world,” she adds.
Listen to After Midnight below.