Indie country group Nikki & The Phantom Callers debut their song “Mamas Should Know,” exclusively with C&I.

Every once in a while, you get a song that really transports you back in time. Up-and-coming country group Nikki & The Phantom Callers’ new track, “Mamas Should Know,” takes it one step farther, blending the psychedelic ’70s with spaghetti western melodies of the Wild West.

“To me, the ethos of the song is that of searching and longing to find who we are meant to be,” says Alabama-born, Atlanta-based lead singer Nikki Speake. “We could have been born anywhere, to anyone, but why did we end up in the place and time that we did? There are a million ways to go wrong and screw it up without proper guidance, which many don’t have, but at some point you’ll lose your guides — voluntarily or involuntarily. What will happen then? What will you do with the knowledge you’re given?”

The song also reminisces about childhood. “It’s a magical time when you believe in all the things that are unreal,” Speake says. “There’s an unmistakable sadness in growing older and having to meet others’ expectations while feeling some of that magic slip away. A lot of us lose it earlier than most through whatever tragedies or misfortunes come our way, forcing us to face an adult world before we are ready.”

That ethos comes wrapped in twangy guitar strums, bluesy guitar licks, and bouncy drums. And then there’s Speake’s beautifully haunting voice and her equally absorbing lyrics, which combine to create a melancholic, sentimental, and sober tone.

As much as the song evokes the universal poignancy of childhood, it’s also extremely personal to Speake: “The lyric in question, for me, is about losing my own mother when I was 12,” she says. “I had so many loving and beautiful people in my life to take care of me, but still so many unanswered questions that only one person could answer. Some have time to reflect and tell their loved ones what was important to them, or what they felt life truly means before they go; others go abruptly with only memories and pictures to fill in the gaps. It’s about asking all of us to leave a little more behind for those that love us, and also an endless quest for just a bit more of that magical place.”

Get an exclusive first listen to Nikki & The Phantom Callers’ track “Mamas Should Know,” below.

For more information on Nikki & The Phantom Callers, including upcoming tour dates, visit their website. Photography: Courtesy Jamie Hopper.

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