Rachel Reinert has dreamed of introducing her brand of California country to fans for more than a decade. "Cool" is the former Gloriana singer's first bow, and if you're time-warped to an era when Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt ruled their respective radio formats, you're picking up the right vibes.

The Laurel Canyon (California) inspired single — heard first exclusivey on Taste of Country — is the sound Reinert brought with her when she moved to Nashville 13 years ago. A few starts and stops (and one Hail Mary that turned into eight successful years as part of one of country music's most harmonious groups) slowed, but didn't kill the dream.

“Deep down in my heart, I always knew there’d be a day where I’d want to return to that,” she tells Taste of Country.

The Eagles, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Ronstadt are a few of the artists she grew up on — creators of the familiar records she repeats on any one of four turntables in her "tiny" East Nashville home. She's a vinylphile, often choosing to listen to new records by contemporary artists on the old format for inspiration.

In the two-and-a-half years since stepping away from Gloriana, Reinert has done a lot of that. Opportunities didn't come as quickly as she figured they would, so she trimmed her professional team, forged a friendship and creative partnership with producer Davis Naish and started to translate the sounds in her head to paper. She kept her head down while she recorded, careful not to let modern country music creep into her creative space.

“I just didn’t want to be too terribly influenced by what was happening now, today, in country music, only because I think that was such a big influencer for us in Gloriana," she says. "I didn’t want to be comparing myself to what everybody else was doing and to what was working. Sometimes that just starts to feel like you are chasing the dragon.”

Reinert's "Cool" modernizes the subtle guitar tones and long-form storytelling her influences made popular decades ago. The song was inspired by her first boyfriend. It's a teenage love story that starts, stops abruptly and simmers before turning into something else beautiful and unexpected. The guy — yes, he's heard the song and loves it — is now a dear friend.

“That’s hard for me to do. If I’ve been in a relationship with somebody and it goes wrong, my tendency is to disconnect from that and push them out of my life for good and never speak to or see them ever again," Reinert admits.

A full album isn't finished yet, but most of it is written. Emotionally, she compares this journey to solo status to her first trip to Nashville as a new artist. In fact, personal expectations might make it more stressful this time. Still, you hear nothing but smiles as Reinert speaks. It's the sound of an artist creating for all the right reasons.

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