[Album Review] Kirsten Ludwig- Honest Tracks
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)


Release Date: March 15th, 2016
Label: Madic Records

Although Calgary/Victoria artist Kirsten Ludwig may at times elicit (favourable) comparisons to other female singer-songwriters such as Tori Amos (consider “Untitled//404”) and Jane Siberry (check out “Wings”) she manages to carve out a niche of her own. It’s a sweet spot. It’s lies somewhere between modern R&B/pop and alternative (almost experimental).

Despite their charm, songs like “Cinnamon” and “Suzy” could easily float away like just another piece of fluff in the contemporary music breeze. But Ludwig anchors them with solid lyrics and inspired background instrumentation, creating something far more substantial. The artistry is kicked up another notch with “Untitled//404” in which Ludwig demands our attention with her frank, confessional vocals, all the while buoying us up with rising detuned piano chords.

Ludwig has a lovely singing voice, so it is perhaps ironic that the album’s two highlights are the spoken-word tracks “December 10” and “North Haven Drive”.  In the former her whispered pleas (“Stop punishing me” and “Please let me go/Let me be free”) are so plaintive that the intimacy feels uncomfortable. In the latter her lyrical prowess peaks as she warns, “That is why I cannot promise that you will leave unwounded/For I am the hermit in the dark, bringing frost with waking step”.

Indeed, you’ll show up for ‘Honest Tracks’ for the beautifully sung indie folk but you’ll stay for the poetry of a gifted singer-songwriter.