Since releasing her debut album, The Way That It Feels, back in 2017, the subsequent four years have been excitingly action-packed for the now Nashville-based songwriter Bea Troxel. Professionally the record saw her head out on two national tours, as well as opening for the likes of Haley Henderickx and Ben Sollee and appearing at South By South West. It’s also been a time of personal change, as Bea settled in Nashville after time in Sewanee and Pennsylvania, as well as falling in and out of love for the first time, discovering her identity as a queer person, and quitting a job that refused to accept that part of her. This period of change and transformation is documented in Bea’s upcoming album, Gettin’ Where, out later this month via Ruination Records. Ahead of the release today Bea is sharing the latest track from the record, the album’s opening track When I Lean.
Bea recalls the inspiration behind the song, a musing on, “that grim fear that you’re gonna be too much”. It’s a song about putting yourself, and your whole self out there, as Bea puts it, “if I lean, will I lean too far? If I really let my self BE here, what will happen?” It’s a song that fears the consequences, yet it doesn’t feel like one that has any choice but to go all-in.
The track enters on a gorgeously delicate finger-picked guitar line, perfect in its simplicity, as Bea’s contemplative vocal goes off in search of, “another thing to trust, even though I know that you are still here”. The sound of lapping waves suddenly appears and then departs once more, and slowly the backing seems to appear from the shadows. A walking double-bass line and textural splashes of cymbal take the song forward, before, after a rush of singing Starlings, rich waves of strings lift it once more, adding a Nick Drake-like orchestral flourish to proceedings. The whole song remains anchored by the guitar line, yet the backing seems to come and go, changes often marked by blasts of organic found sound, tying the song to the natural world. Bea Troxel might bring to mind contemporaries like Dana Gavanski or Nadia Reid, yet there’s also a certain single-mindedness here, an elegant songwriter speaking her mind without raising her voice, demanding your attention and holding it firmly in the palm of her hand. Like the title of the album from which it’s lifted this is the sound of a musician going places, she’s gettin’ where she wants to go, and if you’re lucky you might just be allowed along for the ride.