Lyndsey Battle's third and newest album All Ways in a Good Way flows between curious ukelele picks, intriguing percussion and the Caribbean sounds of a tenor pan, all with folky bass, banjo rhythms and soulful, bluesy vocals.Battle gives her hometown sounds of the Mississippi River Delta a folky, Humboldt soul. It's enough to make any native proud and make transplants want to discover Humboldt all over again. Each song tells a separate story, beautifully complimented by each track's collaboration of sounds.
In songs like "Shootin' Spree," Battle's lyrics bring a smile to your face with lines like, "Why don't we go on a shootin' spree?/ We'll shoot down all the thoughts and ideas of one another." In "May Day" she sings, "Darling your lips they still taste of wine,/ Well I hate to go, leaving you behind./ 'Cause it's bliss versus happiness." Other tracks, like "Summer You Were 2," are more nostalgic and feel personal but never truly melancholy. She sings, "Will you remember the time we snacked our way through the valley/ With berry tinted lips, chins and skies?" Then she brings you back to the present with "I'm so Grateful," a song that expresses a love for Humboldt and the home she has found on our secluded North Coast: "I got rain and I got sunshine/ ... and I got music, and I got community."
Battle's Humboldt inspiration goes beyond her lyrics, and the album features local artists, studios and even instruments. Cory Goldman, originally from Portland, fills in with guitar, vocal harmony and a custom 5-string banjo made locally by Colin Vance of Vance Banjos. Mike "Tofu" Schwartz and Christopher "Bird" Jowaisas of Absynth Quintet (and, more recently, The Hip Joint) each add to a track. Tofu plays experimental percussion with sounds from an abacus, a suitcase and some pots and pans, while Bird plays mandolin. Rounding out the rest of the album's collaborators are Brian Hennesy on the upright bass, Jeff Thomas on vocal bass and Kris Lang with a tenor pan. Adding talent all the way from Florida, Battle's former bandmates Sean Peterson and Brandon Warren contribute fretless bass and drums. All Ways in a Good Way is a serene model for what keeps Humboldt's local and traveling music scene thriving.
Around a bonfire, at a fancy dinner party or just lying in a valley watching the clouds roll by, All Ways in a Good Way is, as Lyndsey would say, "bliss versus happiness ... it's a win-win situation."
Battle released her first album, The Prototype, in 2004, and a second, Kill Bass, in 2006. For Battle's complete show calendar and album details visit lyndseybattle.net.