The work of Heather Kenney, a singer-songwriter from Holly Springs, North Carolina, is casual in its conviction but retains an immense reservoir of emotional associations. She’s able to glean the smallest details from her acoustic narratives, turning them into extensive histories that seem to go back decades. More so than most of her contemporaries, she understands the underlying connections that exist within these fingerpicked tones and patterns, revealing an ambitious environment where influences and memories collide in an elaborate web of sound and motivation. She is currently gearing up to release her three-song debut EP, “Waltz,” July 28.
On her new single, “Enough,” Kenney delves into the kind of crystalline folk depths that artists such as Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss have spent so many years wandering through and adapting. She possesses a clear idea of how best to evoke emotion from these communal sounds, of how to invoke the long and storied past of the genre with every gentle melody and strum. With just an acoustic guitar and her voice, she conjures wide-open fields and crowded front porches, just a few of the places where her stripped-down music would easily find a home. There’s a rustic and comforting quality to her work, as if the ground of her native North Carolina simply opened up and offered these sounds from its earthen heart.
Opening with some gentle plucks and strums, the song combines her fluid folk ruminations with an earnest exploration of the simple arrangements that have proven so effective for so many artists. But she’s not simply borrowing ideas from other musicians-she’s completely reworking the emotional viability of this folk and country noise into something that speaks to greater truths and experiences. The track glistens and shimmers in the low evening light, a gem of ethereal resonance that clings to your skin and provides a glimpse into simpler times and memories when love and contentment could be found by closing your eyes and resting against someone who could make the darkness recede for a short time.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.