On Monday, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee performed a solo version of her album Ivy Tripp in its entirety over live stream. From a cozy red room surrounded by plants, she reminisced of her mentality five years ago when the album was released. Written in a slightly different perspective than her other albums, we revisited old songs that embody emotional milestones and shed light on her personal growth. During this set we got to pull back the curtain and see some of the meaning behind this short, abstract album laced with metaphors and symbolism.
Kicking off with “Breathless,” the first track on the album, we are immediately swept away with Crutchfield’s signature rawness and soul exposing vocals. When she sings you can feel her traveling back to what she felt when she was writing. Ivy Tripp is pure poetry. Although the lyrics are often “slyly cloaked in symbolism,” as she put it herself, the tristful tone of her voice already creates an atmosphere that makes you feel safe to be vulnerable and self reflective.
While introducing “Stale by Noon,” Crutchfield sat down at her keyboard and called to mind the imagery that the song was based on. She envisioned the staleness in the air that envelops you during a depressive episode; being at home in the quiet with golden sunlight trickling through the windows as the day seems to pass right on by without you. She rarely plays this song live for fear of screwing up on the keyboard, but she broke the curse and played the part gracefully as she sang, cracking a sweet grin along the way. At a time where her drinking and relationship turned for the worse, “The Dirt” was another song that Crutchfield wrote during one of the lowest points in her life. She explained that she used heavy symbolism during many of these songs because she wasn’t in a place where she was prepared to see her feelings head on. Now, after transitioning into a different stage of life, you can see her confidently belt out the bitter sweet pieces of her past as she sips on her favorite non-alcoholic IPA.
In the avant-garde variations of her popular songs “Air,” that is usually played in three parts simultaneously, and “<” she picked and strummed independently with a rare intimate acoustic sound. Sans the typical versions played with her full band, we were able to see a tender and unreserved side to these tracks. She jokes that “<” was a call out to internet trolls that she couldn’t be bothered by at the time. “Grey Hair,” a song fueled by her anger towards the music industry, is one that Crutchfield has struggled to play rhythmically on the guitar. In her past live shows she solely focused on her vocals, but as she has spent more time practicing the song she has gained more confidence and comfortability with it. She floated seamlessly from chord to chord during the quick fiery tune, and you would have thought it came naturally from the start. During “Bonfire,” or her get yourself together song, Crutchfield missed her twin sister Alison singing back up. The record has a lot of harmonization sung by her sister, which paved the way for move harmonies on the following albums, but her solo vocals were anything but lackluster.
The first song of her two part encore was “Our Song” by Radiator Hospital, a band she shared a home with and still considers her dear friends. She recalled hearing this track for the first time and thinking to herself “That is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.” The soothing yet somber sound of her voice joined by the melancholy lyrics are enough to break your heart even if you’re in a healthy relationship. Her last song, a cover of “Game of Pricks” by Guided By Voices, is one she has done in the past and still enjoys playing from time to time. The “cloaked” words in this song are parallel with some common themes in Ivy Tripp: some slight exasperation towards the music industry and the fear of being deceived.
All of the tips collected during her live streams are donated to Black Lives Matter New York; next up are Out in the Storm, June 29th and Saint Cloud, July 6th.
File Photo: Kalyn Oyer