Kathryn Rose Wood, “In the Ashes” (Independent)

kathryn-rose-woodHow do you cope with the monumental grief of losing a loved one? Some unfortunately escape into destructive habits, isolation, depression, or worse. Others, the lucky ones, find a way to create from the loss. This is the case with Kathryn Rose Wood’s elegiac debut album In The Ashes. Following the suicide of her nineteen-year-old brother, Kathryn wrote these songs as a way to reach out to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.

This album could easily have become bogged down with the weight of its subject matter, but it doesn’t. It begins with flickering chromatic guitar chords, Kathryn’s ornamented vocals, and plaintive steel guitar on “Lullabye (to Preston).” From there the album seems to float upward, harmonically wandering, restless but hopeful. “Big Steel Wings” is the CDs standout single, with a catchy chorus and a Neil Young–esque rhythmic break that keeps things interesting. Ben Lorio of Music Shed Studios produced the album, which is evident in its rich texture. Its personnel are well-seasoned professionals who’ve played with acts such as Sturgill Simpson, Sweet Crude, Coyotes and Solange.

All together it is a well-packaged collection of songs that is captivating to listen to and will hopefully bring solace to those in despair.