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Waxahatchee Basks in the Glow of a New Light With Tigers Blood

The singer-songwriter’s sixth album is a warm, comforting friend in a messed up world.

by Fraser Hamilton

Katie Crutchfield’s music, performing as Waxahatchee, has emerged from darkness and into a sunnier space of sound in recent years. 2017’s Out in the Storm, a murkier and rock-focused record, grew into 2020’s Saint Cloud, a bright and hopeful Americana epic about the singer’s newfound optimism and sobriety. With Tigers Blood, Waxahatchee’s sixth solo album, the Kansas City-based songwriter stays in that warm space of breezy folk music, conjuring up images of hot southern landscapes and dusty homes surrounded by overgrowth.

With titles throughout the album like “Evil Spawn,” “Ice Cold,” and “Bored,” you might think Tigers Blood would be a more sombre affair. Instead, it evokes the relaxed feelings of summer’s dog days, as Crutchfield herself said she wrote it during a “hot hand spell” while on tour. Even the album’s title comes from the red, syrupy flavouring used in snow cones and freezies.

“Hail the darkness you can befriend,” Crutchfield sings on “Crimes of the Heart,” a slower country ballad that encourages the listener to make peace with their demons. “It comes from within.” With the help of fellow indie rocker MJ Lenderman on guitar and backing vocals, Waxahatchee keeps proving she’s a master of capturing warmth and quiet contemplation through her music, thanks to her unique voice and sharp lyricism. It’s a much-needed balm in today’s chaotic climate.