Nashville singer-songwriter Katie Herzig’s third solo effort, Apple Tree, has been released in fits and starts over the course of the last year; such is the slow-burning reality of independently releasing one’s music. The album, however, is Herzig’s most accessible to date, with Grammy-winning Alison Krauss producer Gary Paczosa on the mixing board and contributions from the likes of pop band the Fray and country songwriter Kim Richey, among others. The result is a collection of measured folk waltzes whose hooks burst with the energy of Top 40 pop songs, the most immediate of which—“Songbird,” “I Want to Belong to You,” and “Hologram”—are wisely stacked at the front end of the record. Most of the songs on the album deal with arduously acquiring or letting go of love (“I’m in a love affair without a love song/I’m in the habit of having what I don’t want,” Herzig sings on “Hologram,” a potential sleeper hit radio programmers would be wise to add to their playlists this summer), and love is even likened to a pilgrimage to the New World on “How the West Was Won.” Herzig’s voice is reminiscent of Tanya Donelly’s, at turns plaintive (“Wish You Well”) and playful (closing track “Forevermore” has a decided nursery-rhyme quality to it). Despite its lovely melody, “I Hurt Too” borders on saccharine, but Apple Tree is filled with low-lying songs ripe for the picking.
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