A lot of folk tinged pop records put more of an emphasis on vocals than they do on the actual instrumentation of the music, but that isn’t the case with Abby Zotz’ Local Honey. Zotz, a Canadian songbird who has been managing a love affair with music for most of her life, is a very different singer/songwriter than the men and women who laid the groundwork for her ascension. Her sound is characterized by a balance between her confident vocals and the plaintive guitar that chases after it, and even in songs where there are a number of other musicians and elements backing her up, there’s never any question as to whether or not we’re listening to a fully developed work of art. Abby Zotz doesn’t want to be known as an artist who made a career out of automatically generating minor jingles and happy tunes about stars and sunshine; she wants to make music that affects people in the depths of their soul. She wants us to see the world as she sees it; as an open canvas ready to accept whatever colors we want to contribute to its magnificence.
While listening to Local Honey over the last few days on repeat, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I was listening to the innermost thoughts and journal entries of a woman who has spent the better part of the last ten years studying people and their behavior. Zotz sings about her own life, but a lot of the time it sounds like she’s also singing about us, the decisions we make and the way that they effect the grand scheme of things. There’s a reaction to every one of her bold statements; “Pirouette” is answered by “Be Here Now;” “Sea Change” meets its match in “See Your Face.” I don’t know for sure whether or not Abby Zotz has a progressive album in her or not, but in taking in the cohesiveness and fluidity ofLocal Honey, I’m almost positive that she could construct something more conceptual if she saw fit. More than anything else she’s a storyteller, and many of her stories feel like they could occupy an entire LP on their own.
I would really love to see Abby Zotz live at some point in my life, and hopefully with all of the buzz around Local Honey a nationwide tour won’t be far down the line. She reminds me of James Taylor, who easily gave some of the most incredible performances of his time thanks to his down to earth sensibilities and relatable prose (both of which Zotz channels in spades with this record). Her music was meant to be heard in an open air environment where the echo of her melodies can reverberate into the atmosphere. Of all the new artists I’ve had the chance to write about in the last twelve months, she is bar none the most listenable and accessible to fans of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. She’s on her way to doing some big things, and I can’t think of a better way to commence her passage.