Waxahatchee, the name of the creek behind this modern-day siren’s home in Birmingham Alabama, is also the common thread that runs through her music, tunes that Katie Crutchfield aka Waxahatchee claims follow the traditions of classic Americana songwriters like Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris.
Katie confides that she “leans on place to lead her music.” Weaned on the powerhouse women of Country, Katie and her twin sister, Allison, created music together every day after school. She is vocal about her relationship with her twin: “One of the most beautiful, creative relationships of my whole life is with Allison. And not because we make music together… but because we kinda make music for each other.”
The twins entered the music scene together under the band name P.S. Eliot in the early aughts, a time when punk music wasn’t the norm for women. Katie shares in an interview with Pitchfork that the band was a way for the pair to be like, “We’re going to do everything ourselves, fuck everybody else.”
When P.S. Eliot disbanded in 2011, Katie immediately started making music under the name, Waxahatchee. And while her first solo album was made in under a week at her parent’s house, her latest albums have been patient projects involving collaboration with other artists.
On the very first day of the Trump administration, Waxahatchee recorded the song ‘No Curse’ on the documentary series Shaking Through. She told producers, “Writing lyrics, writing songs has always been the best way for me to process my feelings and emotions.” The song later appeared on Waxahatchee’s fourth album, Out in the Storm, about toxic relationships and standing up to people who don’t take what you say seriously. Years later, Katie reflects, “It’s an honest and angry album and one that is a product of its time.”
By the time Katie finished touring Out in the Storm, she was struggling to keep her drinking in check. And while she didn’t go to rehab, she did take time off to find other coping mechanisms through self-help and meditation. Katie shared in a recent interview: “Sometimes you need to struggle to understand where you stand in the world.”
Now 32 years old, Katie’s been sober for three and a half years. “I really feel like I came back to the person I was before I started drinking,” she shares with Rolling Stone. Her latest album, Saint Cloud, is a return to place, this time her father’s hometown, a small community outside of Orlando Florida, and an album about overcoming addiction and codependency.
She wrote the third track, ‘Fire’ on a road trip with her boyfriend, musician Kevin Morby, from her hometown of Birmingham to Kansas City. When the couple crossed the bridge into Memphis, Katie claims they entered “a crazy portal of songwriting magic.” It was the first time Katie wrote a song without an instrument, and the light on the water created a fire that instantly became the title of this track.
Waxahatchee’s sound has evolved, but for Katie, the song-writing process remains the same: collect tiny bits of sound and sit down to work the pieces like a puzzle. Katie believes “A song never really feels finished until all the lyrics are in place.” And five albums later, this modern-day siren continues to show us how to draw on the places of our lives to find inspiration and create meaningful works of art. Visit Jam Base for a complete list of her summer concert tour.