Fresh off the release of her killer album Saint Cloud last year, Waxahatchee has now turned her attention to an expanded version of the album, conveniently titled Saint Cloud +3, with those eponymous “+3” being covers of Dolly Parton’s ‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’, Lucinda Williams’ ‘Fruits of My Labor’, and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia.’
The three songs serve a dual purpose: first as a little gift for fans, but also as a sort of introduction to Waxahatchee’s style for those who may not know her and want to get a sense of her influences. A liberal mix of alt-country, heartland rock, and classic Nashville-style storytelling is a great way to describe the Waxahatchee ethos, and if these songs weren’t already famous enough, they’d make great additions to Saint Cloud‘s own homebrew of front porch storytelling and blissfully spacey arrangements.
Saint Cloud was a sea change album, marking the beginning of a new phase for Katie Crutchfield. Sobriety, introspection, all that stuff that music critics love to find when they go in and dissect an artist’s lyrics. Luckily, Crutchfield is an endless well of great lyrical writing.
Saint Cloud +3 comes out almost exactly a year to the day after the original album’s release in 2020. Of the three covers, each one offers a fascinating look into the fabric of Crutchfield’s musical DNA. From someone who gets compared to Lucinda Williams an awful lot, it almost seems like Crutchfield is jokingly playing into that notion with ‘Fruits of My Labor’. ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ also gets in a strong tribute to The Boss’ power of pure emotion. However, the real hero worship lives on ‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’.
Why Dolly Parton doesn’t get major acclaim as a songwriter is baffling to me. Any number of her tracks, from ‘Dumb Blonde’ to ‘Just Because I’m a Woman’ to ‘Coat of Many Colors’, contain the clever turns of phrase and storytelling structure that marks the absolute best that country music has to offer. Parton has rightfully taken her place as a divine figure in American culture, but she still somehow doesn’t get the recognition she deserves from her main gig.
Good thing Crutchfield knows the full extent of these three artists’ talents, and we get to see how their influence is carried on to the next generation of great songwriters.
Check out the links to all three covers down below. Saint Cloud +3 is out now.