Feb 01, 2023
By Michelle Dalarossa
On her third solo album, Every Acre, indie folk singer/songwriter H.C. McEntire confronts the uncomfortable and shapes it into something poignant and profound. The Durham, North Carolina musician is known for fronting the alt-Americana band Mount Moriah and working as a backup singer for Angel Olsen, but it’s her solo work that spotlights her lyrical ability and tough yet tender vocals. Using striking imagery and melodies that smolder and bend with a country twang, McEntire crafts a dusky exploration of loss and love that grounds itself in natural landscapes and emotional honesty.
There’s a rawness to Every Acre that is understated and reverent, from the measured poetry of its lyrics to the unhurried, solemn attitude of each of its songs. Lyrics about cornmeal and cattails, bobcat skulls and the “blush of dawn” weave naturally into folk-jazz instrumentation that is arranged with restraint, deliberately and gracefully. Rippling harmonies, searing electric guitars, and a rich piano melt into hushed drums to create soundscapes that are open and expansive. They complement McEntire’s lyrical meditations into both her emotional and external worlds and support the ebb and flow of her pure, warbling vocals beautifully.
Perhaps the most remarkable element to Every Acre is its acute sense of balance and pacing. It moves seamlessly between ardent, emotive ballads and moments of moody, stinging intensity, portraying hardship and grief honestly, but never losing the thread of hope and sense of strength that runs through it. “It ain’t the easy kind of healing,” McEntire specifies on “Rows of Clover,” but on Every Acre, she finds a way to transform it into a moving and memorable portrayal of surrender and renewal. (www.hcmcentire.com)
Author rating: 8/10
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