Published Oct 10, 2018Anna St. Louis's debut record is a reminder of the wistful side of folk. Reminiscent of Laura Marling or Loretta Lynn, she has an easygoing style and she's not afraid to open up and constantly question what's around her. As a debut, If Only There Was a River shows an artist gaining confidence within herself and refining her style, and St. Louis's warmth and sincerity is sometimes all she needs to win listeners over.
The production, helmed by Kevin Morby and King Tuff's Kyle Thomas, is warm and inviting, and gives St. Louis some room to breathe. Whether it's the spare acoustic picking of "Water" or the loose yet steady rhythm section on "Hello" or "Understand," St. Louis's skilful arrangements are front and centre across the record. For the most part, she embraces the opportunity to assert herself as an artist, particularly on "Understand" or "Mean Love," where her sincerity is on full display.
The record starts to lose a little momentum near the end, and some parts of the record float by without registering much of an impression, but the highlights usually make up for this. Sometimes she gets too laidback for her own good, but St. Louis has enough charm to make the record work. (Woodsist)