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Colorado’s Jobi Riccio is making a splash in Nashville. Here’s what’s next for her.

Jobi Riccio ignores skin and bone, cutting directly to the heart of listeners.

At 25, the Morrison native has already written, released and toured enough music to have formed lofty ideals about authenticity. Hers are less about originality and musical style, though, and more about emotional honesty.

On her Yep Roc Records release, “Whiplash,” crisp guitar work underpins confessional, knowing lyrics and lilting melodies that do inspirations such as Phoebe Bridgers and Bonny Light Horseman proud. Youthful and wise, she’s a student of Joni Mitchell, John Prine and other classic singer-songwriters, having minored in music history at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

That helps explain why Riccio’s September release of “Whiplash” garnered widespread praise in The New York Times, Billboard and NPR, with additional plaudits that most singer-songwriters would crawl over rocks to get — such as Newport Folks Festival’s 2023 John Prine Songwriter Fellowship Award.

“If you don’t count Miss Debbie’s piano recital when I was 7, my first Colorado solo gig was up in Frasier,” Riccio said via phone this week before a radio session in Ann Arbor, Mich. “I had a friend who’s got that ski-bum-après market cornered, and he’d have me come up and play bluegrass standards and my own songs, but also John Prine songs and other covers.”

Those shows, which sometimes busted the three-hour mark, taught Riccio that music was a job. Her work ethic serves her well as she prepares for upcoming gigs such as her debut at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas (March 12); the Luck Reunion, held on Willie Nelson’s farm (where she’s an “artist on the rise,” on March 14); and a 16-and-up show at Denver’s Lost Lake (March 20).

After that, her tour takes her to the Midwest, including a slot at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium (April 4), and concerts supporting six-time Grammy winner Jason Isbell (May 1) and Brandy Clark (May 3-8). In July, she’ll also play the Farewell Festival with Brandi Carlile, LeAnn Rimes, Isbell and his 400 Unit, Sarah Jarosz, Billy Strings and more. On Aug. 18, she’s playing San Francisco with Lucinda Williams.

The shoulders she’s been rubbing seem to have left a mark, but not the forced-twang impression some artists flaunt after arriving in Nashville. Riccio — who sounds equally at home in folk and bluegrass as much as indie-pop — seems to have found confidence from the start, releasing the “Strawberry Wine” EP in 2019 and garnering instant attention from bluegrass and honky tonk diehards.

In fall 2021 she moved to Nashville, where she found herself surrounded by music-career ladders worth climbing, but also the pressure of constant gigging and dues-paying.

“Sometimes I feel a little out of place in Southern culture, being a child of Colorado,” she said. “And there’s a very small smattering of people from Colorado out there that you meet. But we definitely have that sort of (camaraderie) where it’s like, ‘Hey, buddy, you going back to Golden to play the Buffalo Rose?’ ”

Riccio’s lifelong connection to roots and fiddle music has been reinforced by Nashville’s surfeit of Appalachian culture. She respects and treads lightly around it, having come from a mountain-music tradition, but loves playing gigs in the region.

“There’s such an emphasis placed on authenticity anywhere in the ‘folk-plus’ world. Like, ‘Prove to us that you are a down-to-earth, rootsy person of some capacity!’ There’s a lot of character acting that people do that I try really hard not to.”

Lyrics and ideas flow from journal-writing sessions in coffee shops, where she also soaks up the works of Joan Didion, Patti Smith and other literary heroes. She talks about having a “parasocial relationship” with Georgia O’Keeffe, who saw colors in Western landscapes that others didn’t, and admiring trailblazing artists who weren’t wedded to rigid gender identities.

“I’m quite nerdy about basically everything, but especially about music history, because it all comes from the same source of things colliding all at once and creating American popular music,” said Riccio, who identifies as queer. “I’m definitely not a traditionalist in any sort of way, but I do have reverence. I’m all about mixing colors and trying new things, and doing music that might seem quite different in the future than what I’m doing right now.

“My fear is that I will become a confident Americana robot girl,” she added with a laugh. “I don’t want to be her! I want permission to be a human being.”

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