Anna Nalick – At Now (2017)

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It’s time to bring music back to a place of authenticity, one of meaning and passion. Sometimes, it seems the craft of songwriting has been forgotten, or tossed by the wayside in favor of the empty hooks dosed with synthesizer, auto-tune and electro-pop, hip hop and club beats that now dominate the airwaves.

There is another type of music though, that gem you find rifling through the racks at a mom-and-pop record store. There, stuck between two of the most popular albums, something might catch your eye – and you feel compelled to listen to it. Anna Nalick’s latest album At Now is just that.

If Nalick’s name sounds familiar, it should. The singer skyrocketed to fame in 2005 with her major-label debut Wreck of the Day, from Sony Music. The album featured the hit single “Breathe,” which propelled Nalick into the adult-contemporary Top 5 and can still be heard widely on radio and television today. Fast forward five years later, and Nalick and Sony Music have parted ways. That’s given her a chance to go into a new musical direction.

As with other empowered female singers like Alanis Morrisette, Pink, Fiona Apple and Kelly Clarkson, Anna Nalick stays true to herself and her craft by writing and making the type of record she wants to make. With At Now, she shows her vulnerability and breaks down the walls and barriers to human emotion, telling her story through song. Even so, Nalick is a bit of an enigma, and I think she likes it that way. She is not afraid to take risks, experimenting with various genres and instruments, using everything from the glockenspiel to sweeping string arraignments for a unique sound.

Besides being influenced by artists like Elvis Presley and Led Zepplin, Anna Nalick finds her inspiration in the art of poetry. Like the poems themselves, Nalick’s songs have precision and flow from the page to her mouth effortlessly. The songs that possibly standout the most in her catalog of songs are “Stones,” “Bless My Soul,” the title track and “Knots.”

“At Now” is a somber mix of blues and soul, as Nalick’s smoky-toned vocals combine with the acoustic guitars. A nice way to kick off this album, the song evokes feelings of growth and maturity, as if Nalick has been through a lot and has come through it as her own person. She knows who she is and what she wants, and she is not afraid of it. Following in somewhat of the same tone is “Stones.” It’s a showcase for the singer’s soft-spoken angelic voice, which flows like water along side a melody from the acoustic guitar. “Stones” shows just how much Anna Nalick has perfected her craft, as she holds the last note with beautiful vibrato.

Elsewhere, At Now moves beyond the melancholy, as Nalick changes tempo and genre on songs like “Bless My Soul.” Here, she utilizes a banjo, which morphs the track into a hybrid of country and soul – something very reminiscent of the the Judds’ early work. It’s a feel-good song that shows Anna Nalick’s appreciation for music as a craft. With “Knots,” Nalick slows things down again. A beautiful ballad, “Knots” finds Nalick’s sultry voice showing cracks of vulnerability. She shows thought in her lyrics, structure in the composition and passion in her performance.

With 10 exquisitely crafted songs loaded with melody and heart, her fans won’t be disappointed, but this a must-listen for any music lover. At Now brings home everything Anna Nalick is about.

Kristina Mondo

Kristina Mondo

Kristina Mondo is New Jersey native, freelance writer, blogger and music enthusiast and a New Jersey Press Association Award winner. See more of her work at Off the Record: Contact Something Else! at
Kristina Mondo

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