Whether folk includes banjos, five vocalists, or just a twelve-string guitar, several things hold the genre together: storytelling, vulnerability, and a look into daily life. This trifecta of qualities is exactly what makes “To Call Home” by Rebecca McDade a standout collection. McDade released her debut album on April 25 and proved that her lyrical wisdom is far beyond her years. Having spent time in Scotland and Ireland in addition to The United States growing up, her influences are broad and show themselves throughout the 13-song compilation.
The album starts off strong with finger-picked guitar introducing you right away to McDade’s technical skill. The first track, “Another Mouth To Feed”, also displays McDade’s aptitude for metaphor and imagery. She sings about watering thoughts and considering whether to accept lines thrown out to her from others. From the title and its reference to acknowledging her thoughts as another entity, it’s obvious how much self awareness this album was written with.
Water and rain play huge parts in McDade’s lyrics, showing up in various songs throughout “To Call Home”. Knowing McDade’s history, it’s clear she was writing what she knew. One can truly picture the types of landscapes she grew up in between Oregon and Scotland as she tells stories of family life and community happenings. Her second track “Uncomfortable in Prototypes” is based around a small town where everyone has secrets to hide. This song is where the listener gets their first taste of McDade’s storytelling ability. McDade has a knack for picking up on details most people can relate to and seamlessly working them in to her lyrics. The song “Cups By The Sink” talks about dreams being spilled out of the type of Dixie cup you use as a kid to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth, or the type you might organize an elderly relatives medications in. No matter how you associate McDade’s lyrics, they’re so personal yet general that there are treasures for anyone to find within them.
“To Call Home” is incredibly intricate both with its instrumentals and vocals. McDade does not disappoint with this piece of folk art and will be someone to watch as she continues to release more music. To learn more about Rebecca McDade, you can visit her website https://www.rebeccamcdademusic.com/ or follow her on Instagram @RebeccaMcDadeMusic.
Review by: Emily Watson
Emily Watson was raised in New England and now lives in Portland, OR. She spends her free time writing indie-pop music and exploring Oregon. You can follow her on Instagram @emjaywat.