Record Review: Itasca’s “Spring”

Spring is like a chronical of a solitary road trip. It was written in New Mexico, recorded in California and Illinois. In each location, a crack crew of players and arrangers joined Kayla Cohen, the sole constant in Itasca. This collective effort has yielded an album that sounds spare, but never bare, and despite their assistance, Cohen sounds alone.

The people she addresses in her songs inhabit memory and mind-space, but you couldn’t hit them with a rock. And while she sings of fields and canyons, she sounds like she is the only person getting out of the car to take them in. Strings, steel guitar and keyboards wrap around Cohen’s singing and strumming like a long scarf and an old sweater, keeping her warm without calling much attention to themselves. Spring is not a record for every occasion, but if you’re trying to quiet the persistent noise of life, it’s an apt companion. 

—Bill Meyer