Posts Tagged ‘If There Only Was a River’

This Kansas City songwriter made a strong debut with her stately, elegant full-length, The first two singles from Anna St. Louis’ debut album If There Only Was a River (“Understand” and “The Bells”) introduce us to the songwriter’s subtle fingerpicking style, but on “Desert,” the third, her husky tenor absolutely steals the spotlight. Low-lit by slow-burning electric guitar, St. Louis’ bewitchingly deep voice is a commanding force on the track and on the entire record.

If There Only Was a River is St. Louis’ proper full-length debut, the follow-up to First Songs, a tape of songs she released last year on Woodsist/Mare Records (now available digitally, too). St. Louis’ warm, dusty acoustic renderings need no introduction, but her new record arrives with a few familiar names attached: Kevin Morby and King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas are producers, and Night Shop’s Justin Sullivan, along with Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill, are both featured on the album’s 11 tracks

St. Louis uses nostalgic strings and expertly positioned vocal phrases to draw the listener into her heady, mesmerizing world, full of wobbly melodies and intently stated folk koans that continue to unfold in your mind long after the song comes to a close. Sometimes the simplest things are the most important, and St. Louis wields that wisdom with the dexterity of an expert, even though she’s just starting out.