Xanthe Alexis’ music balances confidence and restraint. Her voice trembles with strength when she sings folky narratives that invoke memories from centuries ago. Her subtle finger picking is reminiscent of traditional Gaelic music. Everything about this woman’s music conjures pictures of the past paired with contemporary interstitials where her voice booms forward or where one single solid strum disrupts the dreamy splendor of an old dewy hillside in the early morning fog. In other words, this is really great music for hot coffee on a cold morning.
Xanthe’s music pairs ballad like narrative with what feel as much like mantra’s as they do choruses. In “The Veil,” she repeats “on the other side,” each time with more strength and tenor than the previous. It’s a constant acknowledgement of the progress we’re all making. Progressing toward what, she doesn’t care to say. It’s on the other side. Mindfulness is the word here. What is will be, and what will be is. Progress isn’t just movement, it’s practicing now what you plan to practice later.
“Sullen one” pairs the same styles of storytelling and mantra reciting. The song begins, “oh sweet sullen one, bathed in my periphery.” It continues, “out of the dark and into the sun where your shadows can’t hide.” There is plenty of mystery here, but the lines bring to mind that our own shadows, our own dark characteristics don’t need to remain hidden. They can be sweet. They are as much a part of us as anything else. To bring them to light, to understand their sullen qualities is to better understand them, to make them more natural. This sweet tune seems to invite that type of looking. Be it into ourselves or others, we don’t benefit anyone or thing by keeping parts of the puzzle only in the periphery. Bringing them into the sun makes the picture clearer. It makes things whole, which is the same work Xanthe’s music accomplishes, producing wholeness.