KATIE PRUITT – ” Expectations “

Posted: December 11, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 12: Katie Pruitt performs at Ray Benson's Birthday Party at GSD

Georgia native Katie Pruitt was liable to offer up a pretty different set depending on when you saw her. Wielding her electric guitar, the arrangements were built around jazzy, fluid dynamics, her intently detailed lyrical vignettes giving way to the tumultuous release of an instrumental break that seemed to unleash all the emotions left unsaid by the narrator. The twang in Pruitt’s voice became more of a grounding device when she switched to her acoustic,  she appeared as the winning “Artist on the Rise,” and sounded more like she’d taken the country ballad form and turned it inside out.

Katie Pruitt spends much of her debut album Expectations wrestling with the ones that encircled her growing up and realizing that they only have as much power as she gives them. That’s a big deal for someone who grew up gay in a Christian household in Georgia, feeling shame for being different and hiding it, and fear that revealing her true self would result in rejection from her family and friends—sentiments tempered by the late-blooming knowledge that even at her lowest she had a support system to help raise her back up. Pruitt channels those feelings into the 10 songs on Expectations, an album that leans heavily toward modern folk, with elements here and there of rock and pop: The title track, for example, has an ’80s radio-rock feel with gleaming guitars and a sleek rhythm. The real draw here, though, is her voice, which can sound delicate and feathery. She’s also capable of sudden, robust power, and she can switch from one to the other in a flash

On Wednesday night, I stumbled into a bar on 6th street and Janis Joplin’s spirit appeared in the voice of one Katie Pruitt, a Nashville-based singer/songwriter from Atlanta, Ga. whose powerhouse voice and wise, beautiful modern love songs absolutely blew me away. Pruitt is far and away the most passionate performer I’ve seen this week, delivering her songs with that same likable, strong-willed intensity as Brandi Carile. She sounds a bit like Carlile, too, seamlessly matching up her edgy Americana grit with soft country tones. Her song “Grace Has A Gun,” written about a unfavorable ex-girlfriend, is witty, sad and potent. “She had a gun under bed,” Pruitt sings. “And that wasn’t the most terrifying thing about her…at all.” Later on in the set, another clever sound byte sticks out: “You’re way too generous with all the fucks you give,” she sings. Pruitt is unapologetically herself, and her energy is a welcome addition to the Americana sphere. Like Joplin, she tells stories of broken relationships and she sings with her entire face, from her core. It left me speechless. I’m quite certain we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

An indispensable part of growing up is that moment when a new experience — a story, an image, a person — puts its first crack in the foundation of your worldview. Across 10 tracks, Katie Pruitt’s debut album, Expectations, is an excavation of all those fractures and the latticework they leave behind. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter deconstructs the idea of who she should be as handed down by her family (“Georgia”), her Catholic school (“Loving Her”), Hollywood (“Wishful Thinking”) and the South (“Normal”). It’s a lot to squeeze into one album, but there’s a heady sense of momentum to these songs, led by Pruitt’s diamond-cut voice, biting turns of phrase and masterful arrangements. On the other side of everyone’s expectations, Pruitt emerges as the bold author of her own future.

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