Taken from “Putting On Air”, the new album by Erin Rae, out June 8th via Single Lock Records.
Erin Rae, whose genre-fusing mix of traditional folk, indie-rock, and 1960s psych-rock production has landed her collaborations with artists like Margo Price and Andrew Combs – not to mention critical attention from the world’s top music media, including Rolling Stone, NPR, and the BBC — is finally stepping out into the spotlight with Putting On Airs. A forthcoming NPR World Café session and a busy tour schedule, including spring support dates with the Mountain Goats and Margo Price, and an appearance at End Of The Road Festival in the UK, shows Erin Rae’s star is on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic.
Rae describes “Can’t Cut Loose” as “a song about romanticizing addiction in all of its forms, from substances to love and relationships. I wrote this song to that incessant longing voice in my head that tells me I need something else to make me feel different or better.”
Gifted with the unique ability to fuse musical genres and influences to craft songs that feels fresh and wholly her own, with Putting On Airs, Rae has thrown down a direct challenge to the stereotype of what a southern singer should be. Both musically and lyrically, she strikes a fiercely independent chord, proudly releasing a deeply personal record that reflects her own experience and upbringing in Tennessee, including the prejudices and injustices that she witnessed as a child that continue to impact her life to this day, including her personal struggle to understand her own sexuality. According to Rae, “this album was born out of a need to do some healing work in my personal life, to address some fears and patterns of mine and allow my true feelings to come to the surface.”
Recorded in the dead of winter at The Refuge, a historic former Franciscan monastery-turned-creative space on Wisconsin’s Fox River, the isolated environment created the perfect setting for Erin and her bandmates to track these genre-busting songs, using the chapel and other unique spaces within the cavernous building to explore new sonic boundaries, all while continuing to showcase Erin’s trademark vocals and the song-serving restraint first heard on her critically-acclaimed 2015 debut album, Soon Enough (engineered and produced by Anderson East and Mike Rinne).
The unique sound of the record is inspired by the innovative 1960s European production techniques from artists like the Beatles and Francoise Hardy, paired alongside the restraint and minimalism of modern artists like Wilco and Richard Hawley, bridging the sonic gap between classic songwriting and a modern indie-rock ethos. The album was co-produced by engineer Dan Knobler (Rodney Crowell, Tift Merritt) and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Bernhardt. Dominic Billett also served an integral role in the collective that worked together to create the album’s innovative and varied sonic pallet, providing the perfect soundscape for Erin’s soothing vocals, bathing everything in the warmth and purity that has become her trademark sound.
Alongside “Can’t Cut Loose,” preview track “Like The First Time” was released in 2017 around her sell-out UK tour, drawing strong support from Spotify, as well as critical acclaim from British media, including the BBC and tastemakers Line Of Best Fit and Gold Flake Paint. Discussing the track, Rae explained that “I wrote this while I was kicking myself for acting against my own desires in an attempt to gain approval or validation to take the loneliness away. It just made me feel worse, which is a lesson I’ve had to relearn time and time again, and I think other folks do this, too. It’s that internal thought process of “if I just see this person one more time, maybe we’ll figure it out and make it work, and maybe I can make sure you think well of me, and speak well of me to other people.” Maybe that’s being too direct and clear, but I think so many of us have these little ulterior motives that get mixed in with attraction and lust. A driving force behind this record is the process of me trying to get honest with myself about when these feelings are at play, and waiting to act on them until I have more clarity and they feel like they are coming from a healthy place.