Song Premiere: Natalie Hemby, “Cairo, IL”

Photo by Kate York
Photo by Kate York

Natalie Hemby has already made a name for herself writing huge country hits for artists like Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves. Now, she’s stepping into the spotlight with her debut album, Puxico, out January 13. The album is named for the small Missouri town in which her grandparents reside, and standout track “Cairo, IL” chronicles a pivotal stop on the drive from Nashville to Puxico.

“Many small towns throughout the heartland are named after Biblical cities in the Middle East,” Hemby says. “Cairo, IL, which is actually pronounced Cay-roe, is a tiny town where two major rivers join together — the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers — and three states — Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois — all border each other. As a kid growing up, it was my favorite part of the drive on the way to Puxico, and also, the saddest part as I was leaving to go home back to Nashville. Only the skeletons of buildings remain, and what was once a thriving city one hundred years ago, is now a ghost town…a relic of its beauty. But to me, it’s become a landmark of my childhood…”

Listen to “Cairo, IL” below.