Nashville singer-songwriter, Bea Troxel, shares a new single “I’m Not Asleep” from her upcoming record “Gettin’ Where”, out on September 17 on limited edition cassette and CD from Ruination Record Co. The song is a lesson in vulnerability and desire, about what it means to wake up to your body and its needs. Troxel admits her own contradictions, the hesitance inside her longings: “Have you ever been in love and not known what you need?”
More about “Gettin’ Where”:
How do we learn to live inside our bodies—to listen to them, to carve out the space and time they need to thrive in a world where time and space are in short supply? On Bea Troxel’s meditative and joyful second album, Gettin’ Where, the Nashville singer/songwriter casts these timeless questions in a new light by focusing her attention to the world’s smallest movements and graces—the beetle on the branch, the subtle shifts of a late afternoon’s light, the unbounded joy of a young girl dancing in cat ears. The eight songs on this album, which marks her debut release with Ruination Record Co., are grounded in both the folk music she grew up with and the expansive queer poetics of Lomelda, Big Thief, and Ocean Vuong.
To frame the soft strength of her vocals, Troxel conjured up soundscapes with co-producer Thad Kopec (Cale Tyson, Liza Anne), string arrangers Rita Pfeiffer and Hannah Dorfman, and a rotating cast of Nashville collaborators that allow air and space for seeds of wonder and doubt to bloom into songs that feel like summer gardens. You want to sit down inside them, stay until the grass stains your shirt and you feel a little more like yourself.
“I’ve always wanted my music to invite others in and create space for reflection,” Troxel says. “But more than anything I’ve done before, these songs are also about action, about being seen and learning to claim desire.”
The last few years have been nothing if not action-packed for Bea Troxel. The 2017 release of her debut record, The Way that it Feels, led to two national tours, invitations to open for the likes of Haley Henderickx and Ben Sollee, a TEDx talk, and appearances at festivals like SXSW and Musician’s Corner. In her personal life, too, Troxel has been through sea changes. She moved back to Nashville after launching her career in Sewanee and central Pennsylvania. She experienced the sweet tumble of first love and the sting of its fading. She discovered her queer identity and began to live into it, which meant leaving a job that refused to accept that part of her.
“That was one of the hardest things,” she says, “but it was also when I learned to say, well, this is who I am, take it or leave it. That felt powerful.”
As an album,” Gettin’ Where” is a living, breathing document of several lean and beautiful years of transformation and a tribute to the Nashville DIY music community that carried Troxel through them. It’s the sound of an uncommonly gifted songwriter learning to openly love every part of herself. Of course, Troxel would be the first to admit that self-love has never been uncomplicated for anyone. On album opener “When I Lean,” over an undulating bed of fingerpicked guitars, strings, and swells of singing starlings and rushing water, Troxel calls on herself to “live so you can’t pretend” even as she acknowledges the growing pains involved in doing so. And on the soaring, brooding “I’m Not Asleep,” she admits her own contradictions, the hesitance inside her longings: “Have you ever been in love and not known what you need?”
But through all the doubt and the wondering, a thread of clear-eyed joy hums through the center of these songs. The clearest distillation comes on the album’s centerpiece and title track, where Troxel says it straight: “I may not tell you to your face, but man, I’m trying to take up space.” It’s a gentle statement, but it’s also a steadfast one. “Now I know just what I want,” Troxel sings, contentment audible in every open vowel. “I’m getting where I really want to go.”
When you hear her sing these words, you believe her. It’s a rare musician who can express her whole self with such plainspoken eloquence, and a rarer one still who can make her listeners feel capable of doing the same. – John Shakespear.