Zoe Wilcox announces her new, solo album, bringing 12 unfeigned original songs with driving beats and elegant vocals.
In a spacious, rammed earth living room in Santa Fe, NM, windows looking out onto the piñon forest, five talented Santa Fe musicians, schedules freed due to COVID, gathered with Zoe. The deft ear and heaps of equipment of recording artist, Bill Palmer, caught it all. This all-star collection built on porch playing sessions to create a sound that is at time bluesy back beat, at times cajun stomp, at times eire, but always responsive to and expanding upon each other. Their diversity in musical style match Zoe’s talent to capture the wide world of emotions, time, and place in her song writing.
In the lead song, Calling Me Home, an ode to her home, New Mexico, Zoe begins our enchantment with her vocal ambrosial warmth. Next, with backing vocals by the Hoth Brothers, Bard Edrington and Boris McCutcheon, she examines her white fragility in White Angel, then immediately takes on a classic, archetypal journey, along with her talented musicians, the Hoth Brothers and Karina Wilson, in Parsifal. In the album’s gypsy psalm, The Breakaway,Zoe tells the difficult story of a woman escaping a violent home life, followed by the lightest of all song themes, a classic-truck anthem in which the Palmer brothers, Bill on electric bass and Jim on drums, promise to make you exercise the replay button. The freshness of sound continues with each song, with Alex McMahon’s dreamy lap steel in the love song, All That’s Stable, the booming harmonies of Stephanie Hatfield in the cajun story of Christianne, and the one-woman-and-her-banjo inspiration, the title track, Breaking the Chrysalis. The tendency to lean in while listening and wonder between songs, what new sound is coming next, speaks to the creative influences of the albums’ producer, Bard Edrington. The album ends appropriately and memorably with Zoe’s clear intension, “the world’s been waiting just to hear my song.”