Itasca’s (born Kayla Cohen) new album Spring arrives three years after the airy folk of her third album Open to Chance. Written while Cohen was living in a century-old adobe house in New Mexico, Spring is the result of her purposeful seclusion after experiencing personal setbacks. The album’s contemplative folk tracks are built from pedal steel, thoughtful piano, and tender guitar. If her previous album was about finding wonder in nature and the people around her, on Spring, Cohen uses her raw musical materials—and the inspiration of her picturesque surroundings—to discover the truth about herself.
The album’s stripped down production emphasizes the intimacy of the songs; Cohen turns negative experiences into meditative songs that explore the mystical elements of the natural world. On “Voice of the Beloved,” Cohen sings, “It’s so easy for a woman to make a man a home / She will open that door before she even knows,” her melancholy voice backed by delicate, knotty guitar lines. On “Blue Spring” and “A’s Lament,” she sings of personal dead-ends and relationships that wilted. Throughout the album, Cohen’s desert locale serves as a background character—informing the songs sparse feel. On Spring, Cohen takes tragedy and turns it into a musical journey to investigate her place in the world.