I never want the first song on this album, “Woman of Many Colors,” to end. It’s so catchy and beautifully crafted. It’s just over three minutes but it tours and tears through the singer’s almost neurotically thought-out sense of placelessness. The singer wants to find a home in a place that wants her to be there, but at the same time she doesn’t want to settle down before she’s been everywhere she’s capable of going. At that point, though, will there be any places welcoming to what’s left of her after she’s spent so much of herself?
I know this town like I built it. / I know which roads will lead to where /and I’ll stay and visit as long as these roads know how to take me somewhere.
The song bounces along steadily but begins to pick up pace at the last verse–suddenly it cuts off as if the singer is moving on again before any resolution. In the end, I’m glad the song ditches me because the following songs are just as wonderful. The rest of the album seems to pick apart specific stories of this woman’s life we’ve had summarized in “Woman of Many Colors.” We go past porches and grocery stores, lovers’ laps, prison cells and turnpikes. None of the characters seem like they stay in the same place for very long. Some are so adrift that they lose their place in their own heads:
Do you still think of it that way? / Cause thoughts will take shape / then they’ll walk their own way / until you don’t even know how you can relate.
But these aren’t the stories of anesthetic adrift narcissists. These characters are asking each other about how they’ll be able to maintain relationships and sanity while not whittling their selves down into suffering stiffness.
Do you feel it too? / Like you’re the only one trying to level with your own blues. / I’m trying to be on your page, but I’m the only one who always tends to feel this way. / If you love me you’ll give me a break, won’t you?
This is a classic-sounding album. Andrews recalls Joni Mitchell in the spirit that Matt Woods recalls Steve Earle–not nostalgic or posturing, but just so in-tune and engaged with that mode of art that it all sounds contemporary to each other. She is a musician and songwriter from Seattle by way of Phoenix, she’s made a handful of albums and this one is absolutely great, and it’s only five dollars.