Laith’s Got a Song for Every Day of the Week

The Texas songwriter has crafted an “all over the place” charming sound.

Laith (Courtesy of Laith)

7/8/9. Laith

Sounds Like: Driving from Houston to New Orleans with all your favorite road trip songs on shuffle

The first thought I had upon listening to Laith’s debut record, Lightning, other than how does this guy not have more monthly listeners on Spotify, was that the album feels like when you put all of your favorite songs on shuffle during a road trip. Come to find out, that’s pretty much exactly what Laith intended.

Elusive and seemingly laid-back as Mac DeMarco, timeless and twangy as The Abigails, and with vocals akin to something Growlers-esque—Laith, known by some as Hutch Hartford, has crafted his own blend of country and psychedelic rock. He hails from Texas (hence the name of his backing band, The Texas Birds), and is currently living here in Portland, where he recorded Lightning over a period of six months at Ruby Machine studio.

Released last May, Lightning is a self-described “12-track traveling companion for the wild-eyed Western mystic drifting along the winding highway,” taking listeners on a cross-country road trip—from Houston to New Orleans or Colorado to Española, N.M., and a stop at a watering hole or two along the way—with his “all over the place” sound.

From “Texas Wind,” a simultaneously drawling and garage-rocking love song, and Laith’s most popular, to “79″ (my personal favorite) that starts out with a funky, electronic ‘80s beat before seamlessly transitioning into a folk tune about “bayou nights and mosquito bites,” the blend of music debuted on Lightning is simultaneously familiar and brand new. It’s difficult to choose a single standout—even for Laith himself.

“I guess I kind of considered them all my babies, love ‘em or leave ‘em,” Laith says. “There’s a song on there for every day of the week.”

There’ll “probably [be] a new record by the end of the year,” Laith teased. Fingers crossed.

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