I’m listening to Lauren O’Connell’s newest album “Quitters” which was just digitally released on Friday. While I’ve been enjoying Jenny Owen Youngs’ latest album “An Unwavering Band of Light” since it came out in mid-February, I think it might just be beat in terms of listening on repeat potential in March.
Four songs off the album were released in the last two years as Youtube video songs, but the studio versions recorded are even more amazing. The new songs are just as great, and listening to the whole album amounts to an excellent 51 minutes of feelings. You get an intensely retrospective feeling as well: songs like I Will Burn You Down and Maybe True Stories make me think of my own past, and bring up my own memories of places and people that sometimes I’d rather forget or not think about. Lauren’s lyrics feel very honest, like she’s letting you in on her hand-written journal that’s actually filled will feelings, rather than the scribbled observations of daily life you might find in the average blog. I like that she can also pair those words up with excellent musicianship on a range of instruments, calling in backup when appropriate (her duet with Ryan Lerman on I Belong to You is especially moving). The whole album feels like it belongs right at home on an old bar stage, with vocals on some tracks like If Found/Gravity having a distinctly music-hall echo which suits Lauren perfectly as a folk alt-country musician.
“Quitters” is Lauren’s best effort to date, reflecting a lot of growth from her earlier work (which is still very good). Much of her work can be found in home-spun YouTube VideoSong style offerings, and you can really see her development into a professional musician through the years. She also has covered many folk and rock songs which fit right into her own style. Her latest, House of the Rising Sun, is a New Orleans folk song which I think she delivers with haunting power.
I highly recommend giving Lauren a listen. I don’t think you’ll regret it.