Add Kaleigh Baker’s full length-album, Weary Hours, to the things your October will sound like. It’s released to the world on Friday, October 16, and is what some might undoubtedly refer to as a career tour de force.
There is so much life in its 10 short songs; it may, in fact, inhabit its own ferocious heart. The tracks seem to breathe and move on their own accord. They announce their arrival in search of your surprised smile, stomps their feet on your doormat, and slip out the back door in just over 30 minutes, well before you’ve a chance to tire of its company.
Perhaps what’s most compelling about Kaleigh is that she absolutely transcends expectations of what we expect out of a singer and performer. We’re fairly used to a variety of voices and experiences, but she cares little for what we’ve seen or heard. “Here’s something else,” she seems to be saying, before offering up songs so unique in their approach and feel, we don’t quite know how to react.
We end up drawn to this musician giving us songs that defy category and mood.
On her “Black Widow,” for example, she’s coy and soft in the beginning, building towards a strong and powerful scream of a close, all the while singing to some very “lucky” boy. She rides the sliding scale between extremes and we’re taken on a journey we aren’t fully prepared for, one we enjoy all the more as it takes shape.
It’s as if Kaleigh already knows full well that it’s hard to place any one person into a proverbial box.
The enormity of a soul and its collective life experience won’t fit well behind an easy one or two word description, and it’s doubly hard if that person has a colossal gift to share. If anything, her latest chooses to reflect the personality she’s already honed and give us more of it. Songs we once heard in their infancy have been given layers, muscles, wings.
Weary Hours is one long and satisfying tribute to what Kaleigh can do. The name of the album could be attributed to her meandering road trip of a life and how she has arrived at her present point. It could amount to how long it’s taken to put the album together and present it to eager fans, both longstanding and brand new. It could even mean she’s tired and needs a rest.
That aside, it’s a real joy to hear an artist shine so brightly. “Shoot Down” ought to start a dance riot in the streets. The aforementioned “Black Widow” is terrifyingly good. “Big City Lights” doesn’t need to be a chapter from her life story, but it feels like it may well be. And namedropping the ineffable Tom Waits in the album’s opener certainly doesn’t hurt anything.
Maybe we didn’t need this album as much as Kaleigh needed to improve on the relationship many have with her music. If you’ve only experienced her fill a lonely stage with nothing but her guitar and microphone, Weary Hours is more, more, more. It’s your musical doggy bag. Pull this disc out and play it to get you through the times she doesn’t happen to be playing in your little town. Do this as often as you need to. Weary Hours will sustain you.
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