You keep escaping me to the bottom of that well, singer Anna May coos in the song “Where I Belong” from the album I’m Still Thinking Of You. The song is just one seven in this gifted artist’s repertoire so thoughtfully and brilliantly produced. With an ear for perfect vocals, and a pen for enchanting lyrics, May takes on love, life, grief and the road in bountiful collection.
“Where I Belong” comes in at the sixth track of the seven. You might be reading this and think to yourself why the writer would skip the previous five tracks? The answer is that of all the songs on the album, each has a glimpse of May’s personality, a window into her soul. This song tugged at me the most. It stood out for many reasons, but the top being its lyrics. You had the nerve to say that I’m not good enough for you, May sings. Her tingling voice, a reflection of her heart’s pain. The pride in her voice also comes through, the therapeutic act of singing heals. How did this happen?, May sings. Her thoughts rolling around, like the stirring guitar strings underneath her sheer vocals. “Where I Belong” puts to music the composition we all hope to write when things don’t go as planned…when you aren’t the person you want to be. Or thought you could be.
“She’s Been Painting”, which happens to be the opening song, has a brighter personality. I felt like May’s vocals hovered over the ukulele (in this case) in not as much of a domineering way than “Where I Belong”. It’s a smoother balance between her voice and the music. “I Believed” and the clap along “Velvet and Gold” are both outstanding tracks, putting to task May’s exceptional presence. I loved the line back of the class, she’s always running out of gas…she’ll be the talk of this town. I felt like May might be singing an autobiographical tune, here. Emerald in her eyes, she sings, making me think that she’s starry eyed and wants to so much to bond with people. Once again, the trusty ukulele springs the words and May’s voice to life.
By the fourth song, “April and Johnny” she’s electrified her vocal range a bit more, but still very zoned into folk, Americana range. In the charming “California Snow”, May’s added more gumption to her voice, she’s faster yet again in her delivery. The guitar work is just as flavorful.
Finally, the title track, she’s back on the ukulele and slowing down the dance. In a lullaby-like tenor, she sings my frail voice won’t make a sound, see the wrinkles around your eyes, rivers flowing inside your mind, try but I can’t do this on my own, and I don’t want to go home alone, think I’ll hide inside these walls. The ukulele, almost moving in a way the violin would move, its strings pouring like tears. May continues, upon your pillow rest my head….memories are I have left. As sorrowful as this song is, it’s beautiful.
by Bethany Page