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“Anybody willing to go out on a limb/ Winter is calling and I’m calling you in.”
From the opening line of her sophomore album, Milwaukee filmmaker and musician Heidi Spencer asks us to enter her world of long winters, starry nights and lovers who are leaving or already gone. It’s filled with the beauty found in sadness, in long drives on rainy nights, or in the nostalgia of past relationships that haunt the heart.
The Luck We Made delves even deeper into the pathos Spencer began documenting with her excellent debut Matches and Valentines. Vulnerability, loneliness, longing and the pressure of expectations are not new subjects for Spencer, but here she accepts them with a dreamy optimism. Every song is fully realized, a rarity for a record of such emotional weight that is also so catchy. Production props must be given to Bill Curtis; he expanded the textures and atmospherics. Cello, slide guitar, lap steel, piano, upright bass and Curtis’s nuanced drumming weave in and out of Spencer’s rippling acoustic guitar, but her voice is truly the perfect instrument here. Somewhere between Tori Amos and Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval with a dash of Dolly Parton, Heidi Spencer is a folk-country-dream pop anomaly. She moves from whisper to breathy purr to high lonesome and back with control and an idiosyncratic phrasing that makes her unique.
The Luck We Made is available locally at Atomic Records. VS