She calls herself a singer-songwriter, but as soon as Rebecca Loebe leans into the first notes of Give Up Your Ghosts, her new release from Blue Corn Music, that definition starts to seem inadequate. Loebe is not just another talent. She’s a sophisticated, mature writer with a relevant point of view and an assured, nuanced voice that’s elegant and earthy, powerful and delicate, with a range and depth she hints at more than flashes. When the moment’s right, she’ll glide up a scale like Norah Jones, or drop right into a crag in Fiona Apple’s sidewalk. But timing and delivery alone don’t make an artist. There’s got to be substance as well, and Loebe fearlessly probes the rawest corners of her psyche to find it. “I’m writing a lot of empowerment jams these days,” she say, “because it’s what I need. I’ve written albums full of what I needed to say, but this album is full of songs I need to hear.”
And now she’s on a guerrilla mission to share messages others need to hear as well. Inventively marrying elements of folk, pop, rock, blues and jazz, Loebe takes vocal left turns when you think she’ll go right, or shifts from breezy to profound in a single phrase. And each surprising twist makes her music that much more entrancing.
Blue Corn’s Denby Auble was so enthralled by her 2017 album, Blink, he immediately invited Loebe to join his Houston-based label (home to Grammy nominee and CSPS fave Ruthie Foster). By then, she’d already cast her spell over Kerrville Folk Festival judges, who made her a winner in 2009, and talent scouts for The Voice, who asked her to audition for the show’s debut season. (Her version of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” charted worldwide and landed on the show’s first compilation album.) Two years later, Alternate Root magazine ranked her ninth on its list of America’s top female vocalists.