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On “Desert,” the third single from her forthcoming album If There Only Was a River (Oct. 12, Woodsist), Anna St. Louis quietly projects human emotion onto the natural world. “Some men shake trees to find a holy life,” she sings. “But it comes and it goes and it dies.” It’s not revolutionary to suppose that there’s feeling in nature and vice versa, but, on “Desert,” St. Louis personifies the rivers, trees, fires and deserts: “ ... the fire went out long ago / but still I pretend that you’re coming home.” Listen to the whole song below.
The first two singles from If There Only Was a River (“Understand” and “The Bells”) introduce us to St. Louis’ subtle fingerpicking style, but on “Desert,” her husky tenor absolutely steals the spotlight. Low-lit by slow-burning electric guitar, St. Louis’ bewitchingly deep voice is a commanding force on the track.
Despite what her last name would imply, St. Louis originally hails from Kansas City, Mo. She moved to Los Angeles five years ago and has been making music ever since. If There Only Was a River is her first proper full-length record, the follow-up to First Songs, a tape of songs she released last year on Woodsist/Mare Records (now available digitally, too). St. Louis’ warm acoustic renderings need no introduction, but her new record arrives with a few familiar names attached: Kevin Morby and King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas are producers, and Night Shop’s Justin Sullivan, along with Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill, are both featured on the album’s 11 tracks.
St. Louis recently wrapped up a tour with Woodsist labelmate Night Shop supporting Waxahatchee, but there’s another chance to see her at her hometown record release event at Permanent Records in Los Angeles’ Highland Park on Oct. 20.
Again, If There Only Was a River is available Oct. 12. Listen to “Desert” below.