Living in a town with an elevation of just less than 7,000 feet has a great influence on many things. Aside from how much alcohol it takes to get properly tipsy, the music, too, is affected by the dizzying height, mirroring the varied lifestyles here. A freshman at Northern Arizona University can find music for their mood just as easily as a 50-year-old retiree. From blues to bluegrass and mountain music to Mountain cover bands, the music in Flagstaff is as eclectic as its people. For musicians coming in to Flagstaff, it can be a daunting task to try and nestle in. But Washington-based singer/songwriter Cara Alboucq has sidestepped through the myriad of classic-rock cover bands and reggae groups to leave a sound that’s as breezy as the mountain wind.
In her debut album “Roam,” Alboucq croons over her acoustic guitar about youth and all the strange and wondrous feelings that transpire during that brief moment of innocence: excitement, longing, and most of all, curiosity, about love, about the world beyond Bellingham, Washington, where “Roam” was recorded. Songs such as “Lost in the Woods” and “Honest Blood” have the folk tenderness of Joan Baez while others such as “Little Miss Troublesome” and “Black Feathers” feel like country pop. Lyrically, Alboucq plays with her words and strings them into memorable melodies. “Violent Charlie Brown/with your coffee colored stare” she sings in “Grayland, WA.” In “Honest Blood,” though she sings about her luck in not having to write about sorrow, there’s a sense that she longs for it, understanding that beauty is often hidden within pain. “Calmly heal the proctor/who has taken me to bed. Tell him I have never suffered/and I can’t heal with words unsaid.”
Alboucq has noted that the inspiration for “Roam” came from her experience in the Pacific Northwest but its messages translate well into Northern Arizona. “Roam” is as curious as it is contemplative and as explorative as it is exciting. Though only 30 minutes, “Roam” is a delicate debut, giving us an intimate insight in to Alboucq as she explores both her outer and inner worlds.