Music Of The Month: February 2023

Free Range Practice

Quite a few good new releases hit the streets in February. Ron Sexsmith, one of my favorite songwriters, brought us The Vivian Line. Andy Shauf released his latest, called Norm. We got Working On A World from Iris DeMent, which includes what I think is my favorite song of 2023 so far, “Goin’ Down To Sing In Texas.” And Sunny War launched Anarchist Gospel. All these are worth your time, and any one of them might have been my pick of the month, so check them out.

Early on in the month I was pretty happy to see that Yo La Tengo had a new record, This Stupid World. But after a few plays over a couple days, it mostly just revealed to me that I’m really not so much a YLT fan as I am a Georgia Hubley fan, and she’s relegated to just two songs here. Having established that, the very next thing I heard was Practice, the debut album by Sofia Jensen, who bills herself as Free Range. I’ve never heard of her before, and (perhaps refreshingly) I can’t find hardly any information about her online. But for me her music scratches the same itch Hubley’s does. I’m not saying they sound alike; they don’t. Free Range leans toward a sparse, generally more acoustic sound, heavily reliant on pedal steel. But they share a similar vocal style and a casual, loose feel that I love. And with Free Range I get a whole album’s worth of it all at once. So, so good.

Get some music in your ears, everybody!