By Kinsey Heath
Prior to Heather Woods Broderick embarking on her solo tour, she was extensively on tour working closely with Sharon Van Etten. Broderick has been a composer and a touring musician for many years, so the road is not a foreign place for her. She also was apart of Portland-based band, Horse Feathers, which she once played the cello for. But this summer is about Broderick and her solo release of Glider which will be out in July. Admittedly, I’m a mega fan of Van Etten’s, but before she started touring with her, I was a fan of Broderick’s since her 2009 release of From The Ground, and last night I had the opportunity to see her at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle, Washington.
Opening the show was Sam Watts of the band Ghosts I’ve Met. Tractor Tavern is shockingly vacant tonight. The space felt empty and dull, but Ghosts I’ve Met takes the stage and invites a wistful sound into the room as he opens with his first song. I have to say that I found Ghosts I’ve Met so beautifully harmonic that I found myself singing alongside Watts after getting down the first few lines of the chorus of his song “Redwoods.”
Now Broderick takes the stage and she picks up her electric and leans down to play with her pedal board creating a atmospheric sound, similar to the feel of her previous album. She sweetly commands the stage and emits a peace from her body that is compelling and highly demonstrated of her music.
Broderick plays mostly all new material until she asks, “Any Bill Withers fans out there?” She beautifully sang “Hope She’ll Be Happier”. She left her quieter and subdued tone and sang the lyrics “I never thought she really would leave me, but she’s gone.” Broderick clenches her eyes tightly and carries out the word “gone.” She becomes increasingly louder with each second of the word. Broderick seems to be in a state disconsolate dreariness and makes me tear up in the audience unwarranted. Though I mostly always welcome tears, the space was small, and I felt like a delicate, orchid of a human that I wanted to just retract back into the soil.
“Are you guys in the mood for a loud song?” Broderick asks the audience. We all chime in with a definitive yes. “I don’t think I’ve really played this song in front of people”, she admits. It's her new single “Wyoming” and this is the only song on the set that she strums and doesn’t finger pick. “Wyoming” is Broderick’s most deftly executed moments yet as she builds up the sound like a thunderstorm, waiting for its moment to torrentially downpour overhead of you.
Personally, I think Heather Woods Broderick is on the cusp of something I can't conceive of yet. Though meek in appearance, she is gallant and moves her music like a river, unpredictably throwing you around the bend. I had a chance to thank her after her performance and covertly fangirl about how cool I think she is. If you have a chance to see her during this tour, I say do it. This may be your last time seeing her in an intimate venue before her album release.
Glider is out 7/10 on Western Vinyl.