On the cover art for her new album “Saint Cloud,” her next chapter as Waxahatchee, Katie Crutchfield is perched atop an old pickup truck, its bed full of roses, with her face tilted toward the sky. She looks free.
In a way, the Alabama-bred, Philadelphia-based artist says she is. In announcing her new album, due March 27 via Merge Records, Crutchfield says her new batch of songs were penned in the period following her decision to get sober and therefore were an exercise in reckoning. “I think all of my records are turbulent and emotional, but this one feels like it has a little dose of enlightenment,” she says. “It feels a little more calm and less reckless.”
The album, made last summer at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, and Long Pond in Stuyvesant, N.Y., and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Big Red Machine), finds her backed by Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox, both of Detroit-based Bonny Doon, plus Josh Kaufman (Hiss Golden Messenger, Bonny Light Horseman) and Nick Kinsey (Kevin Morby, Elvis Perkins).
The video for the Americana-tinged lead single “Fire” takes Crutchfield back to the place of the song’s origin. “The idea and melody for ‘Fire’ was dreamt up while driving over the Mississippi River from Memphis into West Memphis, Ark., sun reflecting off the water which literally made West Memphis glow. The song’s written by me, to myself. It’s about the internal dialogue of shame surrounding mistakes you’ve made in the past and how we spiral and beat ourselves up when we slip.
“It’s meant to be a bit of a personal pep talk. If I can love myself unconditionally, then I can move through the world a little easier. If I can accept that I only have a partial view of the universe, and that I can’t know everything or control much of anything, then I can breathe a little easier, take better care of myself, and be closer to my own truth.”
||| Stream: “Fire”
||| Also: Watch the video for the song
||| Live: Waxahatchee plays May 8 at the First Congregational Church of L.A. Tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.