Keen observers peeking into the oversaturated world of indie music will undoubtedly notice that there''s no shortage of neo-folk singer/songwriters on the scene these days. This is especially true in Nashville, where even the most daring and idiosyncratic performers get lost beneath a never-ending swell of new faces and Next Big Things. It was here in Music City that indie siren Emily DeLoach recently held a release party for her debut CD I Have Stood Still and Stopped the Sound of Feet before a legion of laidback listeners at The Rutledge.
DeLoach arrived with her reputation for perpetually awkward stage banter in tow, eliciting more than a few hearty chuckles from the crowd between songs. Flanked by Nashville regulars like Andy Osenga and Jason Feller, DeLoach delivered a performance of precision and candidness that rivaled the most engaging acts in town.
The record itself begins with the pulsing "Just Can''t Say You Love Me," an ode to the matured love that can only come after the retreat of youth. It''s interesting to note that this track was penned by fellow Nashville folkie Jason Feller, who, in addition to being DeLoach''s rhythm guitarist, also happens to be her fiancée. He wrote the song about her.
The rest of the album features sparsely arranged tunes about the trepidation and uncertainty that typifies amorous pursuits. From the lopsided gallop of producer Neilson Hubbard''s "How Do You Sleep?" to the shuddering carnival jangle of "Evidence" and "Set You Free," DeLoach delivers naked honesty and genuine charm in a voice both soulful and subtle. And with all the songwriting talent weighing in (besides the Feller and Hubbard cuts, the album also features a tune penned by local alt-rock favorite Matthew Ryan), it''s no small feat that DeLoach managed to contribute the strongest tracks on the record.
In "Sailor," DeLoach surrenders her doubts atop the song''s moody, lilting stomp, admonishing the object of her affection to "grab my hand and go." Then there''s "Finished With Love," arguably the album''s crown jewel, which paints a sardonic portrait of the inevitability of love going sour: "I''ve made up my mind / And I''m serious this time / I''m finished with love for good."
When it''s said and done, I Have Stood Still and Stopped the Sound of Feet is more than a rainy day singer/songwriter record about the fears and follies of love. It''s an ethereal pilgrimage up one side of the heart and down the other, with plenty of breathing room and a genuine empathy for the human experience along the way. Ms. DeLoach is an enchantress in song, a cut-up on stage, and a romantic at heart. We''re glad she''s got it dangling from her sleeve.
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