One of the most fertile and oft forgotten eras of modern music has to be the airy, refined folk pop of the late 60s and early 70s. The generation of somewhat “rambling” troubadours that would skirt the line between cool cooing psalms and electrified jangle. An era where nylon strings and timpani in the same song wouldn’t totally be out of the question.
Whether it was Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, or Sandy Denny, the mid-century modern folk/pop movement was one of distinct beauty. This mid-century renaissance of folk and pop led to what would most immediately (and lazily) be referred to as “singer-songwriter,” or in other words “this artist has seamlessly melded two genres, so we’ll just call it singer-songwriter music.” In all reality, the genre is not necessarily singer-songwriter outside of the fact the artist did in fact sing and write the song. Then again, I likely don’t have to tell you that twice.
So, with all that in mind, as the presence of 70s jangle amongst the would-be modern singer-songwriter grows more and more prevalent, Nashville’s Ali Sperry has chosen to go the way of the Collins, Guthrie, and Denny. Rather than join the jangle-fray, Sperry chose instead to revisit that lost age of genre-medling magnificence on her upcoming LP Crooked Feelings. Its airy and open, but not so nebulous that Sperry’s musical and lyrical intentions become indeterminate and lazily referred to as “singer-songwriter” fodder.
Take the track, “All These Crooked Feelings,” as example. While the song is beguilingly open with plenty of room for would be rumination, Sperry is continually tethered by the song’s lyrics. Co-written with Carey Ott, the song introduces Sperry in a new light, more realized and headstrong. The song almost feels like a declaration of Sperry’s own independence – both with the new direction of the album and her own being – as she opts for love over fear. Actually, the more you listen and ruminate on your own, the song feels more pertinent and applicable than Sperry may have originally expected, considering the rather dower political climate of our nation (especially on Inauguration Day of all days).
Crooked Feelings is set to release February 24th. Sperry will play The 5 Spot March 18th (6-8:30 slot) in support of the record’s release with special guests yet to be announced.