‘Catch of the Day’ – Rissi Palmer – “Summerville” [VIDEO]
It's Thursday, and is the custom, today we are presenting another in our series of great unsigned or independent label country artists we feel you need to know. Today's feature artist is no stranger to the top-30, having hit the mark with her 2008 debut single "Country Girl" and again with her follow up "No Air" which were both featured on her self-titled debut album. An artist who turned down her first recording contract offer, because it wasn't true to her country roots.
Rissi Palmer was born and raised in Sewickly, PA, a little town of about 3800, about an hour northwest of Pittsburgh. Her musical style was greatly influenced by her parents, as her mother was a huge fan of Patsy Cline, and her father exposed to her to music from Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Chaka Kahn and Santana. She discovered her incredible talent at an early age, appearing on a local "Mickey Mouse Club-like" program on local television called Team 11. By age 16 she was performing at state fairs and other venues through out regions from Pennsylvania to Arkansas.
In 2000, at age 19, Palmer was approached by Flyte Time Records and producers James "Jimmy Jam" Harris and Terry Lewis and offered a recording contract. But Harris & Lewis wanted her to "drop her twangy" country style and adopt a more pop/soul hybrid. Knowing she couldn't be happy with the style they wanted her to adopt, she turned the contract down. After that, Palmer made her way by singing jingles, also appearing on Star Search and Dance Fever. In 2005, Starbucks Entertainment distributed a 4-song EP by Palmer, which landed her on the iTunes top 5. 1720 Entertainment came along, allowing her to do things her own way, releasing her self-titled debut album in 2007, which featured 9 songs written or co-written by Palmer.
When the lead single "Country Girl" charted, Palmer became the first African-American female to hit the charts since 1987, when Donna Mason hit the country chart with "Green Eyes (Cryin' Those Blue Tears)"; she also became the first African-American to hit the top-30 since Charley Pride in 1988 with "I'm Gonna Love Her On The Radio". But the success was short lived, as a dispute with 1720 Entertainment led to legal entanglements and eventually Palmer left the label.
With her career on a hiatus, Palmer married in 2010, and had her first child in 2011. She wouldn't return to the studio until 2012, where she produced the album Best Day Ever, which she described as a "sophisticated children's album". Though the album was intended for kids, Palmer advised her fans that it was one that could be listened to without "the kiddos around".
In 2014, Palmer launched a very successful Kickstarter campaign to produce her follow-up album. The Back Porch Sessions was produced by Grammy Award winners Shannon Sanders and Drew Ramsey, who also produced Palmer's debut album. Palmer says the title of the album is in remembrance of her youth, and the time she spent sitting on her grandmother's back porch in Summerville, GA. The second nod to Rissi's grandmother is in today's spotlight. Rissi Palmer and the second single from Back Porch Sessions, "Summerville" is today's Unsigned/Indy Artist Thursday Catch of the Day, new music you haven't heard, but you'll want to hear it again.