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Song You Need to Know: Waxahatchee, ‘Oxbow’

The opening track to Katie Crutchfield’s new album, ‘Saint Cloud,’ opens up a new world of Americana bliss

Happy release day to Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud, singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield’s best album yet. In it, she embraces Americana and country-rock, deviating from the thrashing indie-rock she became known for in her previous work and returning to her southern roots of Birmingham, Alabama, while citing Lucinda Williams and Linda Ronstadt as inspirations.

“Oxbow,” the first track on the album, serves as a window opening into this new territory — a big, booming welcome that features the drums of Nick Kinsey, who came up with the beat on the spot at the West Texas studio where they recorded. Throughout the track, Crutchfield sets the stage for the rest of the songs and their imagery, where red roses are wrapped around her microphone and a parked pick-up truck basks in the sunshine, slow-burning tunes drifting out from the dashboard’s radio into the truck bed. She lures in listeners with a homespun narrative: “Barna in white/Married the night,” she sings. “What dreams become concrete/They may feel trite.”

The track is sweet and concise, barely reaching three minutes. It concludes with a simple refrain, as Crutchfield sings “I want it all.” You might wonder what all even is. Love? Freedom? Success? But it doesn’t matter. What matters are her consuming vocals, echoing the statement over and over again, as you play the song on repeat.