It’s been a long, rough year since Waxahatchee released the exceptional album Saint Cloud. There’s little doubt that Katie Crutchfield, the sole proprietor of Waxahatchee, was counting on the subsequent tour as her true revenue stream. We all know how the global pandemic gave a jolt of adrenaline to the old adage about the best laid plans. With a glimmer of hope that concerts might again be a viable option in the near-ish future, Crutchfield is giving Saint Cloud a fresh coat of paint, or, more accurately, a trio of covers appended to the track list to create a deluxe version of the album. I’m usually inclined to grumble about such a thing, but I recognize we are in desperate times. And if Crutchfield taking a pass at a Bruce Springsteen tune means a few more people find their way to her own exceptional songwriting, I’m all for it.
As winter gives way to spring, and I watch my social media feeds fill up with celebratory posts of dear and distant friends showing off their vaccination cards, stickers, and bandages, I find myself particularly grateful for Waxahatchee’s version of Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.” Written by Parton when she was finally able to move past a long, contentious split from her longtime professional partner Porter Wagoner, the song feels ideal for the current moment, especially with the tender tone of emerging hope and personal power heard in Crutchfield’s voice. As the track plays, I start to truly believe believe in the promise of the lyrics, that “everything’s gonna be all right/ It’s gonna be okay.”