A while back we got a truly unique submission from Abby Litman. It’s both an album AND a book. Litman’s style is firm but sweet, both at the same time. What impresses me most, though, is that it’s really genuine and straightforward. It’s really an enviable snese of transparency with her emotional journey.
But the book – wow – the book transcribes the lyrics while also sharing some really wonderful illustrations. It’s the kind of deep art that we adore. The message is across platform and really endearing. The paintings appear to be in watercolor and evoke a subtle sense of connection with the lyrics.
The first track “Seasons” is a beautiful acoustic track, full of light and life. Of course it discusses the seasons with their natural characteristics. The song seems to be a metaphor, but it carries enough weight all in the natural imagery to be enjoyable.
The following “The Girl I Used to Be” is a reflection many of us know, looking back on our optimistic selves. It’s really well written because the “mood” of the track really fits the lyrics excellently. About 1:20 into the song, there’s an atmospheric style that really makes the song emerge. It helps the track feel transcendent. It’s a perfect connection with the sense of self discovery that comes the older you get.
“We Fell Apart” is, predictably from the title, a bit of a sadder song. The images in the book are light and minimal for this one. The guy in the song sounds like a frustrating person, a bit manipulative. The weird thing is that I don’t know the narrator or the character, but I have a visceral reaction to him listening to the song. It’s evocative and meaningful.
“The Girl Gone With the Wind” is another folksy acoustic song. I really love the layered harmonies on this one. In fact, it might be my favorite on the whole album. It’s followed by another sad track in “Summertime Ended.” Of course the metaphor is here on this one about the “end” of a “season.” It’s a breakup song, but in a sort of Joan Baez kind of way.
The penultimate track “Three Women” sounds like it uses a different tuning, allowing the acoustic guitar to be a bit deeper and creating darker tones overall. That said, the folk songwriting imagery is just as vivid. It feels timeless and loaded with meaning that the listener will only “get” with many listens. The final track “Joshua Tree” comes with the largest illustration in the book, which I’ll leave mysterious for you to see yourselves. The song is complex and layered, leaving the album with mystery more than it opened.
This is wonderful work of art from a talented artist. Her transparency is evident and admirable. There’s a sense that Litman evolved through the album with each development along the way. I really appreciate that about this work. If you’re into folk music and thoughtful words, this is for you.