Anna St. Louis

First Songs

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Before her lush and unfolding proper 2018 debut If Only There Was a River, rootsy singer/songwriter Anna St. Louis offered up the brief EP First Songs. Comprised of several loose tunes from a recording session and a few home-recorded solo songs, First Songs has some of the same drifty country-folk style that would be seen in higher definition on the more fully produced If Only. These grainy recordings have more of a live feel, tracks like "Keep Walking" sounding almost like a hurried Nashville demo session with a pickup band eager to push through the changes. The full-band songs aren't without their charm, but there's something unfinished about them. Songs St. Louis recorded herself like the short, minimal organ interlude "Stray" and the gentle simplicity of "Sun" bear much more intimacy, giving First Songs the majority of its character. Without these refreshing moments, the project would feel generic, with St. Louis' dusty '60s-inspired songs not quite to the level of confidence or complexity they would reach by the time of her first album. It's notable that none of the eight tunes captured on First Songs were revisited for If Only There Was a River. This suggests that these ideas were a pleasant stepping stone towards more fully realized material, a necessary stop on the journey of a songwriter developing towards excellence.

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