by Will Johnson (@wmjohnson95)
Kayla Cohen has been releasing music as Itasca since 2012. Her latest release, Morning Flower, on Dove Cove is her first release in two years. It follows her well-received Paradise of Bachelors release Open to Chance. Morning Flower is gentle and personal, stripped of the backing band that characterized her previous release.
Morning Flower is largely instrumental; she sings on only two of the nine songs. Cohen has an extensive background in classical music, and is shines through on this tape. She gracefully moves in and out of rhythm, pulling the listener along with her, creating alternating moments of assuredness and suspension. Her playing is fluid and her notes carefully chosen, but never showy: more like a lush field of wildflowers than elaborate landscaping.
Cohen collaborated with Wyoming-based Gunnar Tchida, who created all the titles and artwork for the album. Morning Flower is stunningly thoughtful and honest, and anyone who has seen Itasca live or is familiar with her older releases will especially appreciate this intimate window into her work.