On Monday, American indie artist Waxahatchee (Katie Crutchfield) performed the second livestream concert in a virtual series spread out over the coming weeks. The series kicked off on June 25th with her 2015 album Ivy Tripp. This week, sat comfortably on a stool in a pink room adorned by houseplants and stacks of books, the artist dedicated the livestream to her fourth album, Out in the Storm—a body of work that is, according to the singer, “all about the same person.”
Waxahatchee played the album in chronological order, kicking off the show with “Never Been Wrong,” a folky tune which, even without the accompaniment of her usual band, remains powerful. The artist chose to play an unplugged electric guitar, providing a unique sound that the artist admittedly wasn’t used to. The second track on the album, “8Ball,” is a standout lyrically. Waxahatchee described the song as being, “about the end of a relationship…the in-between phase.” Not a single line is repeated throughout the record, emphasizing Crutchfield’s distinguishing characteristic as a songwriter: she always has a lot to say.
As the singer pauses to tune her guitar and place a capo on the third fret, she introduces the next track, “Silver,” by talking about the excitement she remembers feeling upon writing it. She discusses her initial connection to the melody, which is a bit more upbeat in contrast with the other tracks on the breakup record. “Recite Remorse” forces the singer to pause as she reflects upon the heartbreak she felt while writing it; it’s the kind of song that forces people to sit still and feel something.
The transition to “Sparks Fly” is comical as Crutchfield recounts a fun night in Berlin that led her to write the song; “I’ll save the details for my memoir,” she jokes. A liberating tune, the number showcases feeling like oneself for the first time in a long time, with Waxahatchee singing, “I know you don’t recognize me/ But I’m a live wire, finally.”
A strong Americana influence on the artist’s work emerges in “Brass Beam,” a track which marked a turning point in Waxahatchee’s sound. The song is unapologetic, both for its differentiation in sound and its wordiness. “Hear You” follows, a heavier number amplified by the songwriter’s anger. After a quick guitar tuning, “A Little More,” one of the most poetic songs on the album, softens the fury of the previous track.
Halfway through “No Question,” the artist halts to correct her guitar playing before ending with “Fade,” the album’s final track. Everything about the livestream is authentic and casual; Waxahatchee makes up for the physical distance by allowing her audience to feel at home in her virtual presence. She ends the livestream with an “encore” performance of “Takes So Much”—a notable ballad off her 2018 EP Great Thunder which has “had many lives.”
Waxahatchee will return on July 6th to perform her most recent album, Saint Cloud. Tips collected throughout the concert series will be donated to Black Lives Matter New York.
Never Been Wrong
A Little More
Takes So Much
File Photo: Kalyn Oyer