Beth Whitney – Ukulele EP (Independent)
Hailing from Snohomish in Washington State, Beth Whitney is slowly and surely raising her profile in her hometown and surrounding areas, winning songwriting competitions and releasing a sequence of records that consistently earn critical acclaim. “Ukulele”, a seven-song EP, is her most recent release, and unsurprisingly features Whitney mainly playing ukulele (and guitar), singing her songs of course and, as is usual, her husband Aaron Fishburn accompanies her. It’s a charming folk-rock collection, with both musicians in fine form and Whitney’s songs effortlessly draw the listener into her world of rainy days, pirates and unfettered, hopeful love.
At nearly half an hour long, it’s a substantial collection, and one with plenty of artistic ambition. Opening track “Sweet On You” is simply a delight; the duo play beautifully well together, Whitney’s soft vocal (think Joanna Newsom with a little extra twang) drips gentle words of longing and affection, and a muted trumpet adds extra magic – just perfect. “Seattle Rain” is as good, though entirely dissimilar. Its echo-laden percussion and orchestrations emit an epic quality that’s retro, engaging and wholly convincing.