Possibly the summer has mellowed me, or maybe it is simply that I am a sucker for a tight harmony, but I am really feeling this. Annie Crane’s Jump with a Child’s Heart is, thematically speaking, a sort of open letter or Making It in the City 101 for those young optimists flocking to the city of New York with the hope of becoming an overnight sensation. Without even hearing the record, you can tell, from Crane’s personal journey alone, that this is going to be a record in praise of, though occasionally at odds with, that dream.
Crane herself began a slow progression to this, her sophomore album after 2009’s Through the Farmlands & the Cities; from arriving in New York in 2006, she began regular open mic attendance before going on to make weekly appearances at Sidewalk Cafe’s Anti-Hoot for a year where she started to drum up support. This long slog paid off. She has since toured internationally and shared the stage in Nashville with one of her personal folk icons, Emmylou Harris at Nashville’s first Music City Roots’ Live from the Loveless Cafe.
The title track reveals that she feels her secret of success is no great mystery at all, but is the result of an awareness of that factor that all are guilty of wishing to disregard, whatever their particular field. It is as well to have talent and a uniqueness of expression and vision, but without putting in the hours of effort it may as well all be for naught. In her own words:
“The song reminds them that without giving time effort, time will owe you nothing. It is me asking them to do it without complaint, to do it honestly and with the purity of a child’s heart. This sentiment is what this album is for me; committing to a goal and seeing it through in the face of self-doubt and practical thinking, knowing that time will one day tell me the outcome, but that I am the one who can define it.”
This album is, on a lyrical level alone, a true folk record, replete with a personal struggle and an overturning of the odds, chock full of honesty, personal observation and sound anecdotal advice. Yet, besides a passing reference to the tightness of harmonies I have barely scraped the actual sound of the record, which is rich and warm in tone, and with a blend of complexity and simplicity that reveal an exceptionally talented guitarist who knows how to win you with a melody, but also when to hold back and simply let the words speak for themselves. I can foresee this album becoming a staple soundtrack for those darkening-yet-still-warm Autumn evenings, for which – conveniently – it shall be released just in time.
Jump with a Child’s Heart is due October 4, on Constant Clip Records.
Annie Crane: Official website