Waxahatchee, the musical face of Birmingham native Katie Crutchfield, has been going strong for over a decade, but last year’s Saint Cloud may be Crutchfield’s masterpiece.
She has always been a strong songwriter, but these last couple of records have really showcased Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting talents comparable to the best in the business, especially in Waxahatchee’s most recent LP, Saint Cloud, which came out last year on Merge Records. It’s a ride from beginning to the ending “St. Cloud,” which sounds like it was strummed out on the front porch while the sun sinks behind the trees.
Not to sound like a Doubting Thomas, but as recently just a few months ago, I don’t think I would have believed it. But Wednesday night, I found myself walking into the Ottobar for the first indoor club show I’ve experienced in nearly a year and a half. Definitely the longest time I’ve gone without stepping foot in the my home away from home in probably 20 years. But if there was a show that bring us all back home it was seeing Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur of Superchunk on that raised stage, playing to a rapt, and vaccinated, audience that night.
Fruit Bats rock Union Craft Brewing on Nov. 23, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
There’s a comfort to the Fruit Bats’ music. Eric D. Johnson writes songs that seem to glide from over the hills from the West Coast to this year’s fantastic Gold Past Life on the band’s new label, Merge Records.
Bob Mould performs at 9:30 Club on Feb. 14, 2019. (Photo by Jason Nicholson)
Bob Mould was spot on in a very satisfying show at 9:30 Club recently, presenting songs from Sunshine Rock, his 13th solo album, released only weeks ago via Merge Records. Jason Nicholson snapped Bob in performance!
HC McEntire at Jammin Java on Feb. 2, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
I remember when I first saw HC McEntire play on a stage with Mount Moriah, knees shivering with the music, her voice echoing off the tin ceiling and walls of Boot and Saddle in Philly. Cavernous, passionate, and ultimately transformative, in many ways. I read my journal from around that show and it has a quote I think is worth sharing – “Shimmying, we are alive,” which is a reference to the song, “Hail, Lightning” from their eponymous album.
Her recent show at Jammin’ Java was equally transformative.
Superchunk rocks a sold-out Ottobar on Feb. 15, 2018 (Photo by David LaMason)
Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Superchunk has been blazing punk riffs for just shy of 30 years. Although the band needs no introduction perhaps what is needed is a reintroduction. Superchunk — consisting of Mac McCaughan (vocals/guitar), Laura Balance (bass), Jim Wilbur (guitar), and Jon Wurster (drums) — just released their 11th studio album, What a Time to Be Alive, this past Friday. On the night before, they played to a sold-out crowd at Ottobar in Baltimore.