When assessing the modern music scene full of Top 40 charts and megaton labels to pump advertising into their pop hits for weeks on end, one has to consider that there’s only so much room at the top. While thousands of new acts will crop up pretty much literally on a daily basis only to be fizzled out by the ebb and flow of an unfair industry, a small percentage of scrappers in that lot will be able to make established, if not well-known, careers by fighting their way through the void to find something sinewy to knaw on that’s all their very own. Canadian-born singer-songwriter Terra Lightfoot is one strong example of the latter, and if her gritty, confident soul pervading throughout her records as a solo artist and member of a band (the Dinner Belles) isn’t enough to convince you of that, then one must only have to consider her series of on-stage accolades in her collaborations with Gordon Lightfoot (of which she bears no relation to), Emmylou Harris, Ron Sexsmith, Grace Potter, and many more to be.
She sings with such a soaring confidence and stage presence to pair alongside her already versatile vocals that one would have to be forgiven if they had thought that she were a frontwoman who had been fighting the machine for several decades. Nonetheless, Lightfoot’s younger age is not one to precede her ageless talent, with a knack for writing tunes well-sewn into the overarching idea of roots as a collective genre, taking into account the soul, blues, rock and roll, folk, and country music that made the modern west from its earliest foundation in a singular space. She does so effortlessly, and in a mélange of talent equally matched from her vocals, her musicality, and her ability to interpret well-written lyrics into an effectively emotional performance, and perhaps most-so on her second solo release, Every Time My Mind Runs Wild.
Lightfoot’s ability as an instrumentalist, lyricist, and vocalist isn’t a typical affair in which one is greater than the other. Rather, she is the rare artist — not unlike an aforementioned Emmylou Harris –who manages to defy preordained ideas of contemporary musical artistry by excelling in all three archetypal ideas with what can be perceived as relative ease. This much is evident from the opening track onward with “All Alone”, which roars in with a delectable set of electric guitar licks met by bass, drums, a tasteful set of expert self-made harmonies, and a melancholy story of sadness told from a bittersweet lens and towering vocals equally as drenched in rock and soul mentalities.
Every Time My Mind Runs Wild isn’t an album that requires anything more than a first listen to fall in love with, but it does get better with each consecutive listen. Moreover, Lightfoot achieves so many individual musical successes all at once on the record that it becomes overwhelmingly listenable the more one is able to let it sink into their bones. Catchy, soulful, and genuine, Lightfoot’s latest efforts soar just as much as her soulful vocals. If there were any substantial critique to be had, it would be that it didn’t last longer than its short, but sweet, 39 minutes.