Take longing and add a dash of optimism — a swell of strings here, a dose of Americana spaciousness there — and you will find Stephanie Catlett’s debut EP Meet Me in the Dream.
The Iowa City based singer-songwriter crafts songs that reel the listener into her world of stories and imagery. A former marketing writer, Catlett knows how to effectively use words. “You were the beginning of a story,” she sings on “Forsythia”, “A line that carries an idea away.”
While “Forsythia” finds reverence in metaphor and violin brightness, “So, David” is a toast with Jenny Lewis style candidness in the clarity of the vocals. There is a bounce here that lends to danceability. Longing feels, for a moment, put off in place of direct address.
“Nothing but Fine” and “Am I Still” bring the album to a more somber conclusion. “Nothing but Fine” — though released in December — is lyrically on-the-nose. “Be very afraid to go to the store / because we can’t say things like that don’t happen here anymore.” This heavy note transitions to the introspective, steadily paced “Am I Still” which finds atmosphere with delicately lingering violins.
Stephanie Catlett has an ear for melody and a sense of depth through her folk-pop weavings. Stories expand with yearning and sweetness: an act of camaraderie carrying comfort.