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Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project, Waxahatchee, comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going. Since leaving home, Crutchfield has drifted between New York and Philadelphia but chose to return to Alabama to write her first two albums: American Weekend, her debut filled with powerful lo-fi acoustic tracks full of lament, and Cerulean Salt, a more developed and solid narrative about growing up. Both are representations of a youthful struggle with unresolved issues and unrequited feelings.
Waxhatchee’s latest record, Ivy Tripp, drifts confidently from these previous albums and brings forth a more informed and powerful recognition of where Crutchfield has currently found herself. The lament and grieving for her youth seem to have been replaced with control and sheer self-honesty. ‘My life has changed a lot in the last two years, and it’s been hard for me to process my feelings other than by writing songs,’ says Crutchfield. ‘I think a running theme [of Ivy Tripp] is steadying yourself on shaky ground and reminding yourself that you have control in situations that seem overwhelming, or just being cognisant in moments of deep confusion or sadness, and learning to really feel emotions and to grow from that.’
Recorded and engineered by Kyle Gilbride of Wherever Audio at Crutchfield’s home on New York’s Long Island—with drums recorded in the gym of a local elementary school—Ivy Tripp presents a more developed and aged version of Waxahatchee. ‘The title Ivy Tripp is really just a term I made up for directionless-ness, specifically of the 20-something, 30-something, 40-something of today, lacking regard for the complaisant life path of our parents and grandparents,’ she says. ‘I have thought of it like this: Cerulean Salt is a solid and Ivy Tripp is a gas.’
Crutchfield is accompanied by both Gilbride and Keith Spencer on Ivy Tripp, and the record was produced by all three of them. With the addition of more guitar work, piano, drum machines and Crutchfield’s vocals in full bloom, we are given a record that feels more emphatic and pronounced.