Recoded at Gravity Studios, Chicago, Illinois and Le Maison Bleu Studio, Kingston, New York.
On her debut release, singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata distinguishes herself from the contemporary lot of post-Lilith Fair artists and does it without pretense and with plenty of passion. This Chicago transplant is on her way in matching the conviction of some of her influences (Carole King, James Taylor) while imposing a majestic, jazz-tinged rock sound. Beth Orton and Leona Naess have made a strong impression thus far, and Yamagata intends on joining them with this stunning six-song EP. She is vintage cool in a modern world of solo artists, and songs like "Collide" and "Known for Years" are strong in spirit. She may only be in her early twenties, but Yamagata is a weathered soul with a sophisticated frame of mind. The achingly beautiful "Worn Me Down" laments over twisted romance and Yamagata's sultry delivery soothes such pain for one of her most impressive songs yet. Her true talent lies in telling a story because Yamagata is able to take the listener to another place. Whether or not that place is comfortable or ill at ease, Yamagata cares enough to make it a solid experience for both she and whoever wants to hear about it. That in itself suggests that Rachael Yamagata is ready to belong. ~ MacKenzie Wilson