Bella White - Among Other Things
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Among Other Things (Rounder, 2023)

Bella White

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

A buzz is beginning to build about Bella White being this year's breakout Americana star. The young British Columbia, Canada-based musician is already on a major roots label, and that, if nothing else, should make you take notice. "Among Other Things" is a major project produced by Jonathan Wilson (Angel Olsen, Father John Misty) and features guests from the indie-rock and Americana folds with guitarist Buck Meek of Big Thief leading the pack that includes singer-songwriter Erin Rae, multi-instrumentalist Drew Erickson, and White's longtime bandmate Patrick M'Gonigle.

White's voice rings with power and twang, perhaps like an early Loretta Lynn, on the opening "The Way I Oughta Go." "Flowers On My Bedside," a ballad she wrote about heartache, rings with rich piano notes and strings, as she sings confidently with just a trace of aching pain.

That breakup theme is evident in several songs, especially in the rollicking country rocker "Break My Heart" where her stoic demeaner breaks into an angry rage toward the end of the song. It's a standout. "Rhododendron" has a similar lush soundscape as "Flowers On My Beside," but a theme that raises existential questions, as she looks out the window of her absent mother's house into the backyard – "Could I be a mother of a lover/To something greater than my own instinct to suffer?/And would a sheep run if she knew was for the slaughter/Or would she let her soft wool simply warm her daughter?"

More lyrical gems are found in her tale of "Marilyn" born from overhearing a conversation about a man complaining about his wife or partner. White takes empathy with the female and channels anger in equal measures toward the guy. And if you're still not convinced White knows her way around a country song, take the last chorus to "Numbers" – "I'm still no good in lovin'/And lovin' only leaves me losin' anyhow."

White is clearly a winner as a singer/songwriter.

CDs by Bella White

Among Other Things, 2023

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