Music, Print, Reviews March 2, 2020

Album Review: Gabrielle Louise – The Unending Alteration of the Human Heart

by Valerie Vampola

Gabrielle Louise lived alone for the past couple of years, existing in slow, rural life in Paonia, CO. Her new album The Unending Alteration of the Human Heart (out March 20) is the soundtrack to that life. She captures the earthy, folk essence with twangy guitars, acoustic bass, and her clean, lightly brassy voice reminiscent of Allison Kraus.

The album is slow and sleepy, with most of the songs reflecting a ballad or lullaby style. She adds subtleties and changes the textural nuances in her arrangements, separating each track from the other.

Louise fills the space and keeps the music lush on songs like “Words,” and “See In The Dark” with interesting chord progressions, instrumental ornations, or with vocal harmonies. But she’s comfortable letting the music breathe by providing sparseness and leaving herself exposed in intimate tracks like “Time.”

The album is appropriate for that quiet time spent alone on a snowy night by candlelight, but the average Coloradan’s life hardly allows for that same slow pace. After so many beautiful ballads, the soul craves something more upbeat. Louise gives us a couple tracks to make up for that, like the playful “Don’t Touch,” but it doesn’t make an appearance until you’ve already drifted away into a snoozy daydream.

“Big Unbreak” sets itself up with a beginning groove that could have been inspired by early Steely Dan, but by the time the song reaches the chorus, it mellows out and melds with the rest of the album, leaving the listener wanting more.

The individual tracks of The Unending Alteration of the Human Heart are beautifully written with a clear sense of artistry. As a whole, it may not revitalize anyone through the rest of the day, but it’s perfect for fulfilling your small mountain town dreams.

Gabrielle Louise releases The Unending Alteration of the Human Heart on March 20, with shows March 6 in Fort Collins at the Bas Bleu Theater (click here for tickets) plus March 18 in Telluride, March 21 in Fruita, March 26 in Ridgway, and a hometown release show in Paonia on May 23.