Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Heather Woods Broderick Paints A Portrait Of Solitude With 'Invitation'

Heather Woods Broderick's <em>Invitation</em> is out now.
Whit Hassett
Courtesy of the artist
Heather Woods Broderick's Invitation is out now.

Heather Woods Broderick needed a change. After more than seven years of living on the road, backing up artists like Sharon Van Etten, Broderick moved from Brooklyn to a spot on the Oregon coast, near where she'd spent summers as a child. Broderick's latest album, Invitation, out now, is a musical portrait of that upheaval.

It took Broderick time to adjust to the solitude in Oregon. She found herself thinking about impermanence and transformation. Pretty soon, she was writing songs, surrounding those thoughts with quietly beautiful, ear-stretching chords.

"A Stilling Wind" opens Broderick's third album. It was one of the first things she wrote after her move and describes a pilgrimage Henry David Thoreau would recognize — walking in nature, getting quiet, asking the questions we only confront in solitude.

There's an orchestral sweep to Broderick's music. She writes sturdy pop melodies, then creates tense layers, often involving a string quartet, that pull the songs away from the conventional. Nothing feels tied down. Even the recurring pulses of electronic music become decorative elements.

It's been a strong season for female singer-songwriters. Since Brandi Carlile's Grammy wins this past February, 2019 has had acclaimed releases from Sara Bareilles, Carsie Blanton and more. This new work from Broderick belongs in that company, even though it offers something a little different. It's singer-songwriter introspection rendered with a wild, windblown lightness.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.