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With a shift in tone and tempo, Katie Crutchfield creates a vivid modern classic of folk and Americana on this her 5th solo album. It’s the sound of a cherished songwriter thawing out under the sun. Its sensory trigger has the power to replace the memory of whatever you call this atrophic season happening around us. Instead, Saint Cloud is all lilacs and creek beds, Memphis skylines and Manhattan subways, love and sobriety, the sound of a cherished songwriter thawing out under the sun.

Saint Cloud is an album in the thrall of Americana and the country music of her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama: Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, George Jones. Produced with a warm and deft touch by Brad Cook (Bon IverHiss Golden Messenger), the album never chugs or lurches into a rock groove. It’s made of simple blues patterns, nothing-fancy chords, and the steady backbeat of a band working only for the song. Every note rings and chimes: a light organ here, the slight twang of a Telecaster there, gently plucked leads on an acoustic back there, all perfectly appointed for Crutchfield’s songwriting. It feels like you’re in possession of a family heirloom.