Tigers Blood

Tigers Blood

When artists experience the kind of career-defining breakthrough that Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield enjoyed with 2020’s Saint Cloud, they’re typically faced with a difficult choice: lean further into the sound that landed you there, or risk disappointing your newfound audience by setting off into new territory. On Tigers Blood, the Kansas City-based singer-songwriter chooses the former, with a set of country-indebted indie rock that reaches the same, often dizzying heights as its predecessor. But that doesn’t mean its songs came from the same emotional source. “When I made Saint Cloud, I'd just gotten sober and I was just this raw nerve—I was burgeoning with anxiety,” she tells Apple Music. “And on this record, it sounds so boring, but I really feel like I was searching for normal. I think I've really settled into my thirties.” Working again with longtime producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Snail Mail, Hurray for the Riff Raff), Crutchfield enlisted the help of rising guitar hero MJ Lenderman, with whom she duets on the quietly romantic lead single (and future classic) “Right Back to It.” Originally written for Wynonna Judd—a recent collaborator—“365” finds Crutchfield falling into a song of forgiveness, her voice suspended in air, arching over the soft, heart-like thump of an acoustic guitar. Just as simple but no less moving: the Southern rock of “Ice Cold,” in which Crutchfield seeks equilibrium and Lenderman transcendence, via solo. In the absence of inner tumult, Crutchfield says she had to learn that the songs will still come. “I really do feel like I've reached this point where I have a comfort knowing that they will show up,” she says. “When it's time, they'll show up and they'll show up fast. And if they're not showing up, then it's just not time yet.”

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