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Waxahatchee takes the audience through her music journey live in Toronto


Katie Crutchfield (better known as Waxahatchee) took the stage at a nearly sold-out Massey Hall performing songs off her critically acclaimed latest offering Tigers BloodDressed top-to-toe in black, the 35-year-old was pitch-perfect for every note of the 100-minute show, most of which was dedicated to predominantly new material.

Having released her latest album over two months ago, it was clear from the Toronto crowd, a majority congregated on the main floor, that everyone was well acquainted beyond the singles. However, Waxahatchee played nothing released before 2020, which surely disappointed diehards who had been following Crutchfield’s beginnings during her formative, Cerulean Salt era.

Nevertheless, albums such as 2020’s Saint Cloud got plenty of love during the evening, often reinforced by Crutchfield’s bond to the South during songs like “Can’t Do Much” where her voice seemed more pronounced. Elsewhere, tracks like “Lilac” felt like an anthemic highlight of the night that found her band settling in after launching their tour mere days beforehand in Kansas City.

Using her unique knack for phrasing and lyrics to re-invent alt-country for new listeners, the Alabama native brought the evening’s tempo up a notch with “Right Back To It,” which featured guitarist Clay Frankel faithfully performing the harmony MJ Lenderman put on record. “When I dreamed of someday being a singer, this is what I was going to see,” Crutchfield told Toronto attendees after performing the album’s lead single inside Massey Hall’s impressive gilded interior.

Crutchfield isn’t a torch singer, but her drawl is incredibly honest. The ever-so-subtle gravel she applies in some of her songs makes it clear she’s lived through them. Luckily, this iteration of Waxahatchee feels undeniably in tune and organic. It’s something of a welcome ray of light in what’s surely been a road to recovery after coming to grips with her detailed alcohol addiction and subsequent tour burnout of the past.

Either way, the overall effect made the Waxahatchee songs seem more intimate, impactful, with a hint of laid-back energy. By definition, that’s what Americana music is and should be.

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