Allison Crutchfield

Tourist in This Town

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AllMusic Review by

When you lose your band and you lose your significant other, what do you do? Anyone who has asked themselves this should listen to Allison Crutchfield's solo debut, 2017's Tourist in This Town, where she demonstrates the difficulties and the necessity of picking up and moving on. Crutchfield was a member of the indie rock band Swearin' and romantically involved with guitarist and bandmate Kyle Gilbride; when things went sour between them, it wasn't long before the band fell apart. Personally and creatively, Tourist in This Town finds Crutchfield looking in the rearview mirror but decisively striking out for new territory. Her songs reflect the many moods that come with a breakup -- bitterness, anger, sadness, but also a genuine sense of liberation and flashes of sharp wit -- and the music finds Crutchfield scouting out creative new avenues. Tourist in This Town is more polished and less aggressive than Crutchfield's work with Swearin' or P.S. Eliot, with her keyboards prominent in the arrangements, but if it's more pop, it's no less indie. There's enough scrap and passion in these songs to speak to fans of Crutchfield's earlier music, and the pounding of the drums gives these songs a strong rock backbone to go along with the melodies and her bright but insistent vocals. Crutchfield's accompanists (in particular Joey Doubek on drums and Sam Cook-Parrott on bass) do wonders to fill out the songs without intruding on her space, and producer Jeff Zeigler captures the performances with an eye toward the musical interaction of the players. And Crutchfield is a great storyteller on Tourist in This Town, filling her lyrics with smart, telling detail and an approach that's literate but thoroughly down to Earth. Allison Crutchfield isn't forgetting anything that went wrong on Tourist in This Town, but even if the wounds seem fresh, the theme is learning from what went wrong, and this album is the work of a woman who knows plenty and has the talent and desire to make something worthwhile out of the drama.

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