Whether backed by a violin or acoustic guitar or muted trumpet or piano, Tucson's Katie Haverly has one of those voices that can lift and soothe, create tension and then release it. It suggests adoration of golden-age (jazzy) folk-pop like Rickie Lee Jones, Judee Sill, David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell—all lovely DNA, certainly—as well as Erykah Badu and Fiona Apple. Yet her songwriting alone could take centerstage. The deceptively breezy “Wood,” from her ’15 album Aviary, slips into your heart with cool, beat country shuffles, but in the end it’s a story of dreaded male gaze and ugly sexualization. It’s brilliant, and works as a personal social takedown inside wide-appeal pop. Many of her other songs are remarkable too because the pathos never sounds forced or fake—sad poetry of deception sidesteps the maudlin; requiems to lost loves steer clear of self-pity. How does she do that? Well, this ex-Copper & Congress singer is a breathing masterclass of songcraft and delivery, but my theory, cornball as it sounds, is she simply was born to do this. That the tune and the voice and the compassion and the ability to translate unfiltered moments into gentle epistles and hurtsongs is nothing that can ever be taught or learned. It just is. And most don’t have it.
So it is that Haverly’s in need of coin to make her next album—her fifth solo—and she’s asking for help. For most anyone else I’d say save your dough for something that really matters. If a record needs to get made it’ll get made. But Haverly’s record needs to be made, and now, because her songs work the senses like some kind of cultural elixir. She’s got golden-eared producer Gabriel Sullivan set to produce too, so you know the LP will have wondrous sonic soundscapes. Her Kickstarter campaignis closing on deadline and is still short on its financial goal.
So Haverly created this live, Julilus Schlosburg-helmed video to help inspire funding. She says this clip for the song "Pluto" is “something a little more intimate … I wrote this song in a cabin in Silver City, New Mexico that I holed up in for four days to help me process our current political and social climate.” She got it here one take here: