Album of the Week: Waxahatchee

Perhaps more than any other record so far this year, Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud has taken up permanent residence in my mind’s ear.

While genre’s give me a headache coupled with paralysis of thought, if push came to shove I’d place Saint Cloud near the country tradition (which is rooted in folk , right? What isn’t?). Katie Crutchfield is from Birmingham, Alabama, Waxahatchee is named after a creek near her childhood home, and there’s a lovely lilt to her voice, a thick and rich sweetness that I find addictive (and joyful).

Part of Saint Cloud‘s back story is Crutchfield’s newfound sobriety which can lead a writer down endless paths of prose. That said, there’s so much beauty in these songs, a sense of wonder, I’m tempted to get all rhapsodic about clarity.

From “Fire”:

And I take off driving
Past places been tainted
I put on a good show for you
And when I turn back around
Will you drain me back out
Will you let me believe that I broke through?
Tomorrow could feel like a hundred years later
I’m wiser and slow and attuned
And I am down on my knees
I’m a bird in the trees
I can learn to see with a partial view

The backing band, Brad Cook (bass, acoustic guitar, piano, keys, synth), Bobby Colombo (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys), Bill Lennox (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys, percussion), Nick Kinsey (drums, percussion), and Josh Kaufman (electric guitars, piano, organ, percussion) add a perfect light-handed superbly-crafted touch letting these songs shine. The album, on whole, sounds fresh and cool and comfortable, things in short supply these days.

Saint Cloud was released on Merge Records on March 27 of this year and it not only stands up to repeat listening, the mood it creates leaves a welcome place to come back to. Do yourself a favor, give Saint Cloud a long listen.