It is no surprise that guitar strumming singer-songwriters Natalie Price and Grace Pettis recently brought a mix of emotional weight to the Club Passim stage in Cambridge, MA. Not only in the great joy of performing for an audience again, but the heartache, loss, and reflection in their music as a result of these past couple of complicated years. However, within this sadness lies resilience for thriving again.
Singer-songwriter Natalie Price debuted at Club Passim and opened for returning Club Passim favorite Grace Pettis on Thursday, April 14 in person and on live stream for one night only. Click here to see where Pettis will perform next and here for more on Price. Click here for more on Club Passim, their educational programs, upcoming events, and how to support local music.
A smattering of spotlights lit the Club Passim stage as Dallas-born Natalie Price delivered a mix of reflective, sorrowful, and playful love songs during her brief opening set. Price’s sound has a tinge of Natalie Imbruglia or Lisa Loeb as she shares her experiences.
These Days is a clever track about the memory of escaping an unhealthy relationship and if the timing of that relationship were any different, Price might not have escaped. Price sings, ‘I’m so glad I wasn’t younger when we met’ and ‘The heaviness, strangled me/A songbird in a cage.’ Its seemingly lighthearted chords contrast a returning and complex memory that changes over time.
Another highlight was The Island, a song performed entirely with a music box-sounding Kalimba instrument. It is a melodious track about the euphoria of new love while Done is another clever piece that delves into the erratic and frantic feelings of unsteady love. Price ends the set with a catchy and cheerful tune about devotion.
Natalie Price’s music can be found on Band Camp or on her website.
Before taking the stage alone, Grace Pettis joined Price for an unconventional and sweet lullaby Pettis wrote and performs for a Ukrainian child living with Pettis and her family in Ireland called Sleepy Lobster. Pettis had a table set up that evening to support Ukraine.
Florida-born Grace Pettis delves into a collection of powerful, somber, and soulful tunes, a reflection of some of the complex, life-changing experiences Pettis endured over the last two years. In a burgundy shirt and black pants, Pettis is an unassuming presence with a certain personable charm and expressed her gratefulness to be back at Club Passim sharing her music with a crowd again.
Her passionate and powerful vocals in Pick me Up and Never Get it Back from her new album, Working Woman from MPress Records, has universal appeal with the latter a bittersweet message on the importance of living in the present and the former finding the strength to keep going in spite of life’s hardships. Though Pick me Up could simply be interpreted as a love song, it could also apply to a larger message about faith and finding loyal support through life.
Pettis mused in Rain’s lyrics, ‘I don’t know how to be happy’ when she recalled being tasked with writing a song about sunshine. The somber track was inspired by November rain in Ireland.
So many of Grace’s work addresses strength through struggle. Mean Something also from Working Woman has a soothing quality about finding hope while Birthright, which is a Nobody’s Girl song, reveals the struggles of living with the pain of the past. Pettis is an apt songwriter reflecting on the end of a life-changing relationship. She sings, ‘Brace myself for unwanted advice…I’m the box forgotten in the attic.’
However, one of my favorite tracks is Corner, a complex love song about unconditional loyalty, the pain thick in Grace’s voice. Though the show had its share of solemn musings, Pettis ends the set with Working Woman’s fiery and meaningful title track, her powerful belt demonstrating though hardship, Grace Pettis has thicker skin than that.
Click here for more information on Grace Pettis and where she is touring next. Learn more about Natalie Price here and click here for more on Club Passim, their music classes, upcoming concerts, and how to support local music.