Review: Kara Hartzell Comes Full-Circle on ‘When I’m Home’

Artist: Kara Hartzell
Album: When I’m Home
Released: Oct. 5, 2017
Genre: Folk/Singer-songwriter

Former Alex Mery and The Townsmen bassist Kara Hartzell has gone out on her own, opting to pick up a guitar and release “When I’m Home,” a five-track EP that explores the relationships we have with ourselves and those around us.

The EP – released during a special edition of SteelStacks Open Mic with Billy Bauer a few weeks back – leads with “Meadowlands,” the gentle, swaying folk duet Hartzell and Zach Russack released this spring (and that you can read all about here). We then head into “Optimistic” which, as its title suggests, is quite a cheery number about remaining positive and understanding what makes you, you. What’s particularly notable about “Optimistic” is Hartzell’s multi-instrumental talents – in addition to guitar, she also provides her own percussion by way of spoons and washboard.

Things then take a darker, more pensive turn with “The Storm,” a tune featuring guitar and backing vocal support from Pentley Holmes, and whose lyrics long for simpler times while lamenting the changes in a relationship. This idea progresses on “Entrophy,” where Hartzell’s lyrics search for compromise over the finger-picking guitar stylings of Evan Miklosey to give the EP one of its standout moments.

Finally, we come full-circle with “Anthem,” a self-assured tune about pursuing dreams and setting a positive example along the way – two tenets which the singer-songwriter holds dear. The closing track, “Anthem” features Kevin Soffera on drums to create a full-band, pop-folk experience with definite single potential.

Track listing:
Meadowlands
Optimistic
The Storm
Entrophy
Anthem

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