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Story to Tell by The Good Graces

Blending the intense folk undertones of Kurt Cobain with the jangly style of Phoebe Bridgers and boygenius, the Good Graces make ‘90s resurgence-style indie-folk music for real music fans. At the heart of the Good Graces is songwriter, singer and guitarist Kim Ware, with a cast of interchanging band members on lead guitar, banjo, mandolin, steel guitar and piano.

Prose and Consciousness is an exercise in honest songwriting. Consciously eschewing break-up songs, Kim Ware has penned songs tapping into her relationship with herself as a whole human being, with a dawning exploration of the meaning of life. The approach on this album is less atmospheric and more focused on the songs than the Good Graces’ previous work. Showcasing Ware’s open lyrical style, Prose and Consciousness tackles the challenge of accepting life’s uncertainties head-on. 

Recorded in Marietta, Georgia at the Green House Studio, the album was tracked in four live sessions. The songs include a little banjo without being bluegrass, and a whole heap of acoustic guitar without being campfire folk. There’s pedal steel and harmonica as well, all in balanced proportion to indie rock beats. 

“This album represents honesty. It’s really important to put something out that is honest and real,” Ware says. “I used to feel strongly that my songs needed to have a clear point, but we can’t always come away with a clear answer in life. These songs reflect that realization.” “Wants + Needs” is the centerpiece of the album’s style. With lyrics like: “I need to behave but I want to be bad. Do you ever get caught in between?” it captures that realization of life’s uncertainty in abundance.

Ware was given the title for the song “His Name Was the Color That I Loved” as a member of a songwriter’s group, with a challenge to write a song to it. “It didn’t start out being autobiographical, but then it turned out to be about my Dad, and times we would take a walk after a frost to look at the buds to see if they were still frozen, to see if the crops would survive. Writing this way pushes me to write outside my typical subject matter.” With lines like “nothing is certain except that we don’t know,” the Good Graces accept being okay with that as we come to terms with our place in the universe.

“Blood Orange Moon Shot” uses heartbeat-paced rhythms on acoustic guitar to set the tone before opening out into brighter sonic spaciousness. Pedal steel and guitar trade-offs create a hypnotic effect on “Story To Tell.” And “Three” offers harmonica in the folk-indie mix. 

Synthesizing influences from Liz Phair to Lori McKenna and Lydia Loveless, Ware’s Southern twang and straightforward, confessional lyrical style are at the forefront of the songs, while the recording honors more recent production values. Punctuating songs with sonic upswells and subtle embellishments, this is folk music at heart with all the indie trimmings.