Over the past few years, a lot of ink has been spilled about outlier country artists who honor their heroes rather than chase the trends. The women oft-cited in that regard are Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and Ashley Monroe, though lately, another wave has joined their fray — Margo Price, Dori Freeman, and Michaela Anne, among them.
On her Bright Lights and the Fame release, Michaela Anne works through weepers and hits the honky-tonks as every great country singer should. Song after song, her confidence and conviction shine through without casting a shadow on her craft. Rodney Crowell even makes a cameo appearance on “Luisa” to further solidify her dirt road cred.
For the album’s bonus track, “Where Will I Be Found,” Michaela Anne recruited Kenneth Pattengale from the Milk Carton Kids to lend a different kind of cogency, his gentle presence a perfect complement to her own. “I’ve been dreaming of the West, somewhere warm and easy where I can rest,” she offers, wearily running through her geographic options. A few lines later, she turns her lyrical gaze elsewhere: “Or somewhere deep down South, where the cotton grows and the wind can howl.”
The searching sentiment is a tale as old as time — and an impossibly familiar one for those untethered to person or place — and Michaela Anne’s tender take expresses the enervating nature of the seeker’s life. The simple, subtle tag line further ties the longing for home to a longing for Home: “Oh, my God, where will I be found?” Of course, the answer to that question is just as simple and just as subtle.