I like to pay special attention to the first words said on a recording because I feel like those words and how they are sung will set the emotional and aural tone for the entire album. The first track of Jackson-native Erin Rae’s new album “Soon Enough” is “Light Part 1,” and it begins with, “I know, darling, sometimes you go to a dark place, and you have a hard time letting the light in. I know for me sometimes, if I’m in a dark place, I have such a hard time letting the light in, letting the light in—seemingly no end.” These words float through the ethereal setting Erin creates to possibly relay the idea that this album isn’t going to be all about being in never-ending dark place, but rather trying to break out of that dark place.
There is a certain vulnerability that “Soon Enough” relays that is universal during a period of darkness. A vulnerability that comes with simply wanting to be okay again or even better than that eventually. The track “Clean Slate” represents these feelings while making you fall in love with the simplicity of Erin’s sound. I feel like the best Americana recordings are the ones that make a conscious effort to focus the musical arrangement around what is being said through the vocalist, and “Soon Enough” does this flawlessly.
So much can be said about how an album makes you feel, but I’d like to focus on what the album doesn’t make me feel. The album doesn’t make me feel hopeless, and I believe that deserves great praise. Instead of making the listener dwell on dark times, it seems Erin makes a deliberate effort to inspire hope. The title track “Soon Enough” says, “My sweet girl, the lessons you will learn from love—no need to hunt them down. They’ll come to you soon enough.” That could easily melt the heart of any romantic instantaneously.
“Soon Enough” could find a place in the heart of any avid music appreciator willing to listen. You should expect to be captivated, but the awe may not come from a place that you would expect. The album is slow and simplistic, but it is rich in memorable and thoughtful content. The album has so many memorable one-liners that I often found myself pausing after songs just to let my thoughts sort themselves out. My personal favorite was from the track “Rose Color.” The line was, “All the ways I sinned, I guess I did know better. I never knew it mattered till I mattered to you.”
The record comes full circle with the final track “Light Part 2.” The feel of this song sent me to the part of The Big Lebowski where The Dude is flying through the sky during the nighttime. I know the song had absolutely nothing to do with that, but I thought it was worth mentioning because that’s the best part of that movie. If I were to create a euphemism to pitch this record to a listener I would say this record sounds like Leslie Feist that was born in Western Tennessee who had a deep love for Stevie Nicks during her musically formative years. Listen to the record from start to finish, and I am positive you will get something great out of it.
Bo Kitzman is a senior at the University of Memphis' Lambuth Campus. Bo likes music and sports, but playing music is his favorite. You should buy Bo burritos. Bo loves burritos.
Header image provided by Erin Rae.