The first thing I noticed while listening to Ebb & Flow by Natalie Salzman is just how good the production was. It sounds like a record should – a perfect balance of instrumentation, a warm glow without any harsh highs and it also doesn't sound overproduced. It’s actually not that surprising since it was recorded at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. Besides the song writing they are two prominent reasons why this EP is enjoyable. First off Natalie Salzman has a great voice. It has traces of Bonnie Raitt, Shania Twain and even Loretta Lynn. Even the most cynical of hipsters can't deny that she has an appealing voice even if it does sound commercially relevant.
What separates Salzman from a lot of other contemporaries venturing into pop music is her harp. She is more than accomplished and starting play the harp at age seven, received her B.M. in harp performance, won a prestigious harp competition and more. Any way you slice she is a badass when it comes to the harp. With that being said the harp is prominent but not as front and center, as you would hear on a Joanna Newsome record. The EP contains a lot of instrumentation including drums, bass, organ and saxophone to name a few.
The EP begins with “To Have and to Hold.” You hear a steady kick drum, warms strings and her harp. As the song progresses into the chorus it becomes more intricate. It’s an emotionally impactful song with a good amount of melancholy as well as hope. Next up is “In-Between Goodbyes.” The chorus is great. She belts it out and shows off some of her dynamic range. “Losing You” is a slow number with another stellar vocal and harp performance but it also contained a sultry sax that makes you think of romance, rose petals and candles. The sparest song on the EP is the title track “Ebb & Flow.” It’s simply her voice and strings. It works and was a nice treat to hear a song scaled back.
This EP has a commercial viability but lacks some of the attributes the indie crowd will embrace. Overall, Salzman showcases her talents effectively and comes across as someone who can be embraced by a wide audience.
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