Album Review: Anya Hinkle, ‘Eden and Her Borderlands’
There’s an incandescent purity on Anya Hinkle’s new album: the songs migrate between innocence and experience. While there’s no melancholy aching for the ways things used to be but simply a nod to the way things are, there’s a yearning for the wisdom we can discover when we settle into our times, ourselves, and our world.
The album kicks off with the swaying title track that floats along a bed of undulating dobro and steel guitar that flows in the instrumental bridge into a sparkling and rippling confluence of notes, much like the rivers that come together in Eden and its surrounding lands. The cascading chords and notes convey the cleansing spaciousness of a world in which, for a moment at least, time stands still and the singer can forget all the mistakes she’s made and luxuriate in the peaceful order of nature: “The hourglass is still/Teardrops cease to fall/Perfume fills the air/Milk and honey flow/In Eden and her borderlands/In Eden and her borderlands.” Hinkle turns the Rev. Gary Davis’ “I Belong to the Band” into a joyous, exultant bluegrass gospel, replete with strains of New Orleans blues, with jaunty fiddles, unspooling dobro, spry mandolin, and brisk guitar dancing around one another and under Hinkle’s vocals. On the somber and haunting “Road of the Winds,” the singer embraces a liberating spirit that refuses to be held down by a relationship going nowhere. The lilting, spare ballad “Lady Luck” languorously reflects on time and the value of life’s little moments; it features one of the album’s best lines: “I think I know why old folks like to sit on their front porches/soak the hours in gasoline and burn ‘em up like torches.” The gorgeous instrumental “Meditation:Beyond the Shores of Darkness” provides the perfect transition between the haunting “What’s It Gonna Take,” featuring Graham Sharp, which expresses palpable anguish over racial and economic divisions in our society, and pleads for justice and reconciliation, and the celebratory affirmation of women’s independence on “Why Women Need Wine.”
Eden and Her Borderlands showcases Hinkle’s vivid songwriting and her transportive vocals, and the album artfully explores the ways we move through our world, celebrating the highs and the lows of life and embracing the lessons we learn along the way.
Eden and Her Borderlands is available HERE.