By Ian Bremner

Early in the pandemic a lot of focus was put into going inward. being mindful and practicing self-care. Some of us took these themes and ran with them to create long overdue life changes and are better for it. Some folks succumbed to the daily pressures after few months and are back to being fully burnt out. Life takes on new meaning all the time as we continue to evolve and as exciting as that can be, even major breakthroughs can be exhausting these days. Erin Rae is here to remind us all to go easy on ourselves, to “Lighten Up.” Sometimes this simple phrase is exactly what we need to hear.

Three years removed from the excellent debut record, Putting On Airs, Erin Rae’s latest release adds some vintage pop romp to her classically subtle singing voice. With the help of producer, Jonathan Wilson, some songs stretch into gorgeous musical pieces with accenting strings and fresh California sunshine. Her work has always been emotional, but Lighten Up covers a wider array of emotions. It’s still not all sunshine, but Rae allows plenty of room for grace and to accept all of our human tendencies. Recorded with Wilson in Topanga Canyon, the Nashville artist takes on a more full, and at times, more fun sound.

As Rae explores new sonics in her music, she seems to be using this opportunity to open up even further as an overall artist. Lighten Up is a look at the surrounding world. As brutal as it can be sometimes, there is tremendous beauty to be found on a daily basis if you slow down enough to feel it. It seems like Erin Rae does. Maybe Lighten Up is a mantra for herself, or perhaps she’s speaking it into existence for all of us.

Lighten Up is out now. Listen/Buy