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On her third full-length effort, Danielle Durack arrives on the other side of the crushing heartbreak that defined her acclaimed 2021 LP, No Place. “Sleeping in my ex’s shirt / I honestly don’t think too much about him no more,” she sings breezily on “Shirt Song” as Escape Artist opens over playful, palm-muted guitars. “...And life goes on.” The remarkable emotional depth and diaristic quality of No Place remain, but here Durack broadens the scope of her songwriting, showcasing the growth and maturity that come from time passed and experiences lived. “This record was written at a time when I was processing more trauma than I had ever encountered in my life,” explains the newly Nashville-based artist. “While many of the songs touch on escapism, ultimately the making of this album has been my own escape, my own distraction from reality, to process and reflect on a very turbulent time in my life.”
Escape Artist was mostly penned during lockdown, when Durack found herself with nothing but time to sift through the ashes of past relationships, searching for value and lessons in the rubble. The bittersweet, gentle “Jackson'' is a swaying folk gem in which Durack examines paths left untaken in our romantic lives, as well as the colossal significance we often ascribe to our earliest relationships. Her voice is as soft as cashmere as it spills over a bed of ghostly guitars. By contrast, the more lighthearted and spry “News” plays out as a conversation between past lovers who now find themselves on the other end of things as friends—a hallmark of growing up and moving on, soundtracked by an ambling drum beat and steady, summery strumming. Durack once again recruited her longtime friend and producer, Sam Rosson, to work with her on Escape Artist; his touch enhances the album, as together they spun moody, atmospheric, and multi-dimensional arrangements to house these shrewdly sensitive and acutely felt poems.