Vulnerability is definitely not rare in folk music. Singers and songwriters utilize compositions to convey their personal emotions to an audience. Often, the lyrical content concretely presents feelings ranging from happiness to sorrow, evoking imagery from words and phrases. However, New Zealand’s Nadia Reid takes a different approach to emotion on her third full-length album, Out of My Province. The passions in her music are not only felt from each word that she sings, but through the immersive and beautiful soundscapes that she creates. Each song can be described like a very detail-oriented painting: the subject is surely important, but the color palette utilized can manipulate a person’s perception and bring the entire work to life. Nadia Reid manages this in her music by supplementing her alluring voice with layers of textures.
The orchestration on the album is methodically arranged so the instruments can build excitement in a song without overplaying. For example, Out of My Province starts strong with a ballad called “All of My Love”. The song starts barren with light drums and a quiet electric guitar. Nadia‘s vocals are stunning, but very reserved. The hushed beginning is soon met with the inclusion of orchestral strings as the chorus is introduced. The strings add more dimension to the track, ultimately introducing the common technique that is used during the remainder of the album.
As the album continues, Nadia Reid demonstrates her breathtaking songwriting skills by performing music that never feels dull. Songs like “Oh Canada” and “Other Side of the Wheel” are upbeat and bring to mind classic 1990s alternative rock songs. On the contrary, tracks like “I Don’t Wanna Take Anything from You” and “Heart to Ride” are incredibly stripped down and primarily involve Nadia‘s vocals and a guitar serenading you with comforting melodies. Each song is a carefully arranged gem, packed with songwriting reminiscent of artists ranging from Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell to First Aid Kit and The Front Bottoms. Although the tracks sound different from one another, they all fit together into a beautiful package.
“Best Thing” is the song I gravitate to the most off of Out of My Province. It begins with a soft and rhythmic strumming of an acoustic guitar and Nadia‘s tantalizing vocals. With the addition of her poetic lyrics, you can truly feel her emotional reaction to watching the destruction of something she watched grow. The lyric ‘It feels like the paint is peeling on my heart’ richly describes heart-break in a tragic and relatable way. The song moves on from the quiet introduction and builds from almost nothing to a massive outro, complete with heavy-hitting drums and a soaring string melody. “Best Thing” takes you on an emotional journey while seamlessly combining beautiful music with mournful lyrics.
Nadia Reid‘s brand of folk music can make listeners nostalgic for memories they’ve never actually experienced. Although she is performing songs based on her own experiences, it is easy to find ways to relate to her music. Vulnerability has different degrees of effectiveness, but when a performer truly pours their heart into their art, the result can often be far more compelling. Out of My Province is an album that showcases the true talents of an outstanding songwriter. It is filled with gorgeous music that will stay with you for a long time.