Lizzie West has lived her life as a wanderer. Time spent traveling cross-country shaped her sunny character as a young 20something and strongly impacting her work as a poet and as a songwriter. West's self-titled EP was merely a glimpse into her wild imagination, and Holy Road: Freedom Songs vividly reflects upon her spiritual quest, collecting some of her brightest adventures for a brilliant debut album. What makes Holy Road: Freedom Songs inviting from the start is its mellow vibe. Each song has its own personality, and West isn't strict in style even with the album's slight country feel. She's a little bit folky on "Monkey Back Blues" whereas "Jenny" coasts with dark, jazz-inflected beats for a sweeping orchestrated moment. West is used to coming and going, and her wispy, aged-like vocals convince you that leaving what's most familiar shouldn't be scary. Exploring the unknown refuels the mind and soul, and West knows it well; from the acoustic splendor of "Hit the Road" to the harmonic heartache of "Time to Cry," West is strong in her convictions of making it on her own. "Dusty Turnaround" is earthy and pure, highlighting a child-like innocence in West's songcraft. Holy Road: Freedom Songs, in a literal sense, is a simple storybook, but lush in dreams. Dismiss the thoughts of her sounding like Natalie Merchant, because West is original. She works with music's most basic qualities and warms them, and in today's market, such a task is hard to pull off without sounding too plastic .
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AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson