The very first track on Alex Creamer’s latest LP says it all: titled The Wallpaper Song, the lyrics immediately paint a picture of a restless artist in search of something to break her from the comfy banality of everyday life. As our narrator details time wasted staring at the wall when she could be writing, she says, “I got a regrets sweatshirt hanging on my left and a road atlas on my right.” A fruitful, creative life, Creamer seems to be saying, is nourished by upending the status quo and seeing the rest of the world. Even the album’s title, Shaking the Shelter, gestures toward adventure.
In a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, Shaking the Shelter has led Creamer to embark on her first nationwide tour, alongside guitarist and percussionist Reid Miner. When OLY ARTS spoke with Alex and Reid – as the duo refers to themselves – they were still on the first leg of their tour, having just recently experienced the road warrior joy of sleeping in their car in Nashville.
Fittingly, Creamer’s music is ideally suited for the open road, drawing on roots rock, blues, folk, and old rock and roll in a way that evokes both Route 66 and “Route 66.” And, while the fuller sound of Alex and Reid serves to give the music bolder strokes, Creamer embraces a confessional songwriting that could be striking with the most minimal of accompaniment.
“Songwriting, for me, started as a therapeutic thing,” says Creamer. “When I first started writing, I never thought that anyone would hear it, except for me. The first couple times I played some of my songs, and I got the taste of sharing a piece of myself with someone – it was scary, but it’s really a magical thing. I’ve enjoyed finding that balance of something that’s very personal, that means something to you, but that also an audience can relate to and apply to their own lives.”
Creamer’s emotive, vulnerable vocals are neatly outlined by hers and Miner’s instrumentation, creating a sonically tactile package.
“There’s an exchange that goes on between performers onstage, especially with percussion,” says Creamer. “Having percussion in a song makes it so much better, like it’s the heartbeat of the song.”
Alex and Reid’s music does contain a strong heartbeat, one that beckons the listener to follow suit in shaking the shelter and finding inspiration in the country’s open expanse.
Alex and Reid, with Harris Face and Tom Butler
404 4th Ave E, Olympia
6 p.m. Tuesday, July 31
$5 Suggested Donation