Lauren Balthrop – Alabama grown, New York tested, and Nashville planted – quiets even the loudest room. Her debut album, This Time Around, will release Sept 21 and is beguiling in its honesty, rich in dark sonic beauty and above all, devilishly playful.
This Time Around is not overtly a political statement, but it’s impossible not to make a connection between the current global instability and Balthrop’s thematic focus on feeling spun out of orbit. Opening track, “Down”, was initially written as a response to political uncertainty and morphed from protest to love song. Balthrop holds love as the party line throughout, and her heart’s never-ending quest can be re-read as a pro-peace battle cry. The track is out this Friday, May 25 and you can view and share the lyric video below.
This Time Around was produced by Josh Kaufman (Bob Weir, The National, Craig Finn) and chronicles the story of an uprooted soul. Feeling spun out of orbit, tumbling, accidents, and loss of control are recurring themes yet Balthrop finds solace in the chaos of love. Each track on the album oscillates between the moodiness of experimental dark folk instrumentation, and the levity of Balthrop’s crystal-fueled voice.
From the magical realism and twisted fairy tale-nature of “Maple Tree” to the fuzzed-out guitar of “Don’t Ever Forget”, and the drunken carousel-esque swooning of “Tumbleweed”, This Time Around is the poster child for rich, subversive pop music. At times Balthrop hits Beatles-like pop hooks and harmonies and beats that would make Petty nod from the heavens.
“We Fell” stands out as one of the most spare and beautiful tracks, inspired by the twilight of a relationship. The song is a somber waltz, lamenting the way lovers gamble their hearts, repeatedly. Kaufman and Balthrop have plenty of production tricks up their sleeves: a tambourine begins to rattle like a shackled ghost; these songs never behave like they should.
With Balthrop at the helm, This Time Around features an all-star cast with Peter Lalish (Lucius, Uni Ika Ai) on guitar, Jason Lawrence on drums (Jesse Marchant, The Building), Josh Kaufman on bass, Karen Waltuch (Wilco) on strings, Elizabeth Ziman (Elizabeth & the Catapult) on backing vocals, Annie Nero (A. Nero) on backing vocals, Lucas Madrazo (Inland Traveler) on backing vocals, Maia Friedman (Uni Ika Ai) on backing vocals and Tom Krueger on backing vocals.
When I’m on my death bed,” Balthrop says, “the only questions I will ask myself are: how did I love, how much, and could I have loved more?” This Time Around is a profound statement on finding beauty in chaos and refusing to hide your heart. Above all, Balthrop insists that we dance, especially when it’s dark.
May 25 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
May 30 – Bellefontaine, OH – Holland Theatre
May 31 – Frenchville, PA – Oak Mountain Hideaway House Concert
Jun 01 – Teaneck, NJ – Puffin Cultural Center
Jun 02 – Brooklyn, NY – House Concert
Jun 07 – Brattleboro, VT – House Concert
Jun 09 – Meredith, NH – Miles of Music Camp
Jun 15 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
Jun 16 – Wakefield, RI – Pump House Music Works
Jun 25 – Nashville, TN – The Basement
This Time Around Track Listing
1 – Down
2 – Don’t Ever Forget
3 – Tumbleweed
4 – Accident
5 – Come Around
6 – Maple Tree
7 – Long Day
8 – Waiting Game
9 – We Fell
10 – I’m Ready