by Lisa Waugh
Gretchen’s Wheel: Fragile State
Gretchen’s Wheel’s Fragile State is a strong record for Lindsay Murray. Sure, the songs are full of longing and scar tissue but there’s something beautiful about the way Murray portrays hurt and healing. Murray’s ‘80s/‘90s musical vibe combined with Murray’s own brand of storytelling alongside Ken Stringfellow’s production make for a rich recording.
Steeped in music from an early age and with her parent’s home studio as a playground, Murray used the time to cut a singer, songwriter path that couldn’t be easily defined by nearby Nashville. That shaping and course change was also strongly influenced by Matthew Sweet and particularly by Sweet’s record 100% Fun.
Besides the classic rock vibe to Fragile State, there’s an Aimee Mann singularity on tracks “Second to Last” and “My Lullaby” and a tinge of John Hiatt in Murray’s songwriting, honest, bold and unflinching. There’s something for fans of ballads, country, rock, indie and just good old, well made music making.
Fragile State’s solid production is also no accident. Murray has surrounded herself with talented musicians as well as producer who understands her. Murray looked to Ken Stringfellow at Le Son du Blé studios in Paris to make a polished yet approachable final recording.
The record has a scalability fans can appreciate. For example, the record looms large on “Masquerade Waltz” and “Pretend” but shrinks down to a more intimate feel on “One More Mile” and “The Fourth Wall.”
Lush and unique, Gretchen Wheel’s Fragile State is a triumph for Lindsay Murray.
Gretchen’s Wheel Members/Instruments:
Lindsay Murray: lead and backing vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards, drum programming
Ken Stringfellow (producer and guest musician, not a band member): backing vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming and percussion
Ira Elliot (guest musician, not a band member): drums and percussion on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11
Fragile State Production:
Produced by Ken Stringfellow
Recorded at Grand Street Recording, Brooklyn, NY by Ken Rich and assistant engineer Jake Lummus; Middle C Music, Nashville, TN by Ken Stringfellow; Lindsay’s house, Westmoreland, TN by Lindsay Murray
Additional recording and all mixing by Ken Stringfellow at Le Son du Blé, Paris, France
Mastered by L. Nix Mastering at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN
Fragile State Tracklisting:
Second to Last
One More Mile
The Fourth Wall
Let Me Believe