One of the big aims of SoFar Sounds is helping audiences discover new music, and the big discovery of the Lexington edition’s February concert had to be Florence, Alabama songwriter and performer McKenzie Lockhart. There were pindrop moments in her SoFar set, and while her new EP “Suburbs” didn’t officially come out until today, we were lucky she brought a few along to the Feb. 10 show.
Lockhart is at a modest point in her career, and that modesty spins out in this collection of five exquisitely crafted songs of wisdom, discontent and one gorgeous love song.
The latter would be “Easy,” and I can’t decide whether I love the writing or performance of it more. Lyrically, it is the sober, naked faith of young marriage — “I know I’m not a walk in the park, but I’d walk with you all through the dark” — but the performance delicately crafts the words, particularly the soft initial delivery of the the key line “Loving you is easy” before it becomes the song’s soaring declaration. Words or performance, the song makes you weep.
“Spent” is a coquettish low-fi courtship duet with Andy Baxter and a tinny guitar, and “Cynical Heart” is an intriguing and honest song about faith. By the time we get to these selections, we’re already in tune with Lockhart’s songcraft, thanks to the EP-opening title track that uses the image of everyone in the neighborhood rolling their garbage cans to the curb at the same to set up a question of whether the singer is really living the dream.
As a whole, the disc is a quick 19 minutes, but it makes a powerful statement about Lockhart as an artist to watch.
Rich Copley: @copiousnotes