Jobi Riccio, the 2019 NewSong Music Grand Prize Winner, has announced her debut album Whiplash, due out September 8, 2023, on Yep Roc Records. The album began as the grand prize recording project awarded to her for taking top honors that year, and was the first album recorded and mixed at Citizen Studios in Asheville, N.C. After the album was completed, NewSong Music director and co-founder Gar Ragland pitched it to Yep Roc, who signed her.
Written over the course of several formative and tumultuous years in Riccio’s late teens and early twenties, Whiplash is a profoundly vulnerable work delivered by an artist navigating the complicated transition into adulthood with remarkable grace and maturity.
The 11-song collection effortlessly melds classic folk and country sounds with atmospheric production. Throughout the songs, Riccio searches for a place to call home against the backdrop of embracing her own identity and coming of age. The 24-year-old songwriter grapples directly with a variety of topics, including facing past wounds and embracing her queerness. “When I was writing these songs, I kept coming back to this image of someone slamming on the breaks in a car crash and this idea of emotional whiplash,” Riccio explains. “That rush of stress and adrenaline felt similar to what I was experiencing as I emotionally processed my adolescence—almost as if I was being jerked around by one big life change after another.”
Born and raised near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Riccio grew up surrounded by music and fell in love with roots and country music at an early age. Her album draws on her earliest influences like Sheryl Crow on the shimmering self love-anthem “Sweet,” while also pulling inspiration from the tender, confessional indie-folk of artists like Adrianne Lenker and Haley Heynderickx on tracks “Kinder to Myself” and “Lonely Tonight.” Sonically, the collection marries the classic craftmanship of Riccio’s songwriting with modern indie-leaning production to forge a lush, expansive sound that feels traditional and experimental all at once. From the bittersweet album opener “Summer” to the jazz-infused album closer “One Last Time,” each song is a revelatory, coming-of-age story about change, healing, growth, and self-love.
Whiplash was co-produced by Gar Ragland, Jesse Timm, Isaiah Beard (of Baerd), and Riccio.