Going acoustic and pulling it off is one of those marks of a great songwriter. A piece of music, you’ll hear quite often, should be able to stand alone, unadorned, without full-band bombast or lush orchestrations – those things can accent a song, but shouldn’t define it.
Katie Crutchfield took the opposite approach with her band Waxahatchee. She started alone, and then built up. Her buzzed-about 2012 LP American Weekend led to this year’s Cerulean Salt, being released next week on Don Giovanni Records, and the lo-fi acoustic calls of the first one answered with a more band-oriented sound this time around, peppered with hints of Rilo Kiley and Built to Spill. The record sounds great – hear it for yourself via NPR’s First Listen series – and we’re excited for its release party at Golden Tea House in West Philadelphia on Friday (Crutchfield’s twin sister Alison opens the show with her band Swearin‘; as does her bassist, Sam Cook-Parrot, with his band Radiator Hospital). But we’re also excited to present you with a set of stirring, solitary performances in this week’s Key Studio Session.
“Blue Pt. II” is particularly haunting in translation, while “Noccalula” is as much a heart-wrencher here as it is on American Weekend. For a bonus, watch video of Crutchfield performing the 1950s country tune “Dark Moon” – written by Ned Miller and popularized by Loretta Lynn, Elvis Presley and others.