It’s only fitting that a former schoolteacher could write so eloquently and with a sense of poetic finesse. Thus, Rachel Garland delivers these kinds of lyrics on her new – and equally warm and tuneful – album, Wink At July. This is the San Francisco-based singer’s fifth album and, certainly, the argument can be made that it’s her finest (yet). Twelve songs which almost read like a book of short stories; truly, an art form revisited.
Writing songs about poets and graffiti artists may be alien to some, but here, Garlin demonstrates her word skills on a track called “Gwendolyn Said”, a tribute to American poet Gwendolyn Brooks (“…Gwendolyn Brooks could find us/someone sent away for a ninja star…”) and “Hey Keith Haring”, about the late New York graffiti artist (“…you drew outside the lines we fear/you were here…”). The musical landscape can’t be overlooked, as amongst the mix includes use of harmonium, accordion, piano and some very tasteful acoustic guitars, which color the songs. “Dear Friend” is possibly the album’s standout track; it can be easily interpreted as an open letter to a friendship gone awry – and is very moving, lyrically and musically.
If you haven’t heard Rachel Garlin previously, this is as fine an introduction as you can hope for.
Wink At July will be released April 21st, 2015