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Opening Act: Waxahatchee Brings Her Alabama Roots to the Pop Sphere

Waxahatchee is the perfect moniker for solo singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield. It’s both a representation of her Alabama roots (Waxahatchee is a lazy creek near her childhood home) and her beautifully noisy, somber indie pop is a beacon of light through a constant ebb and flow of emotions and moods. Her first release for the influential Merge Records label and third full length, Ivy Tripp, captures a young woman wading through melancholy and adult ennui, navigating with a slow backbeat and fuzzy guitar, while emerging clean on the other side. Released in April, Ivy Tripp is a catharsis even if you know nothing of her back catalogue.

Crutchfield’s journey of self-discovery began in 2012 as a bedroom project, literally recorded in a week, sequestered in her Birmingham home. The resulting debut album, American Weekend, shed a light on a raw but honest talent, offering a glimpse into a young woman coming into her own as a songwriter, simultaneously embarking on her burgeoning exploration of sonic landscapes.

Crutchfield relocated to Brooklyn after earning positive reviews for her debut, but her Southern roots remained intact. Ivy Tripp plays like an elegy for small town life, with the past in her rearview, and a future ahead that remains scary but littered with optimism. Crutchfield gracefully navigates her shifting emotional landscapes, at times echoing the hushed speak/sing of The Breeders’ Kim Deal, while suddenly soaring to angelic highs, as if sudden revelation is happening in the moment. Ivy Tripp may be more emotionally elusive than her sophomore 2013 effort Cerulean Salt, but that’s all for the better, as the listener is never told what to feel, but is rewarded with meanings upon repeat spins. The album cover is a simple shot of Crutchfield in an autumn forest, a far cry from any sort of hipster attitude or urban cool. The song titles say it all: “The Dirt,” “Air,” “Under a Rock,” and “Bonfire,” providing unspoken proof of where her solace and heart lies.

It’s an open air record, perfect for a road trip or a camping adventure where secrets are shared, and the adult world is put on hold for just a little while.

Check out StubHub Music and stay tuned for more in our Opening Act series, featuring the best new live acts on tour this summer.

Listen if You Like: Courtney Barnett, The Breeders, Rilo Kiley

Where to Start: “Under a Rock” is an upbeat rocker with slight country twang, while “Summer of Love” is a beautifully wistful ballad, featuring a barking dog and breaking waves. Both tunes pair nicely, showcasing the versatility of Crutchfield.

On Tour: Crutchfield and her band are currently on tour, extending into the fall with fellow Philadelphia rocker Kurt Vile.