Kayla Howran cut her teeth on the throwback stage of Toronto’s Cameron House, with a lively and playful honkytonk sound. But she’s since moved back to Peterborough, closer to her roots and away from the distractions of the big city. Her songwriting has followed suit, exploring more muted, thoughtful territory.
The result is Spare Parts, recorded at The Tragically Hip’s Bathhouse Studio by Blue Rodeo’s Colin Cripps, a careful and at times melancholy album of elegant alt-country. Howran and Cripps are working with a large and talented backup back, but they deploy them strategically, from the ebullient fullness of “Shouldn’t’ve Done That” to the heartbreaking simplicity of “Tone of the Wood,” which focuses almost entirely on Kayla’s guitar and her beautiful voice.
Howran’s vocal delivery is indeed gorgeous, confident but humanly imperfect, tender and wonderfully performative, with heartfelt delivery that matches the album’s inward emotional turns.
Kayla Howran’s Spare Parts will be released this April.
All images courtesy the artist.