Getaway is far and away a confident and poised collection of road-weary ballads and impeccable songwriting.
For me, the best songwriting is not the most innovative, flashy, or on trend work. I know I’m hearing the work of a master songwriter when their songs sound both familiar and focused; it’s like finding a new detail hidden in plain sight in a favourite painting. Getaway has that same effect on me. It’s an album of “prairie noir” folk songs from songwriter Abigail Lapell that buzzes with an unassuming intensity and strength.
The stories on Getaway come from Lapell’s time on the road, comings and goings, stayings and leavings. Her songs occupy space: the spare piano melody and barely-there rhythms of opener “Gonna Be Leaving” feel swollen like a broken heart or a lump in your throat; on “Shape of a Mountain”, it’s as if Lapell’s croon and minimal arrangement are three-dimensional, an obstacle ahead of her as she sings “My song is the song of the highway.”
Throughout the record, Lapell is ably accompanied by a bevy of talented friends (including lap steel player Christine Bougie, bassist Dan Fortin, trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy, Lisa Bozikovic, Dana Sipos, Rachael Cardiello on viola, and Joe Ernewein on pedal steel), who help flesh out her tunes and breath life into their words. Though “UFO Song” takes an unexpected detour down prairie backroads to describe a close encounter, as does the sweeping piano-led “Leningrad”, with its tale of falling in love with an autocrat, all roads lead back to one inescapable truth: Getaway is far and away a confident and poised collection of road-weary ballads and impeccable songwriting.