There’s an unabashed openness to the way Grace Hamm writes about the songs on her debut EP, For You. Despite some of the shyness she may profess in the exuberant write-ups she did about each of the four tracks before her album’s release, there’s a brave willingness to detail the moments that inspired each of her love songs—from holding hands in the summer heat to the ski trip that brought them together, and every nervous/confident moment in between.
The tracks on For You are just as revealing as her stories about each one—a kind of vulnerability that makes you almost want to reach out and protect Hamm as she enthusiastically launches herself into love in a way that defies our modern cynicism.
But it’s a beautiful, rich voice that swells out of the speakers when “June 4th” starts, one that belies Hamm’s youthful enthusiasm—husky at times, and soaring with the surprising joy she’s found. There’s an old soul quality to the sound she’s channeling that casts a wizened air over her words as she sings, “Three words just isn’t enough.” Classical pacing adds a skipping feeling as her voice dances into the chorus of “Paper Hearts”, and Joshua Ching’s cello pulls the two together gracefully for the song’s coda.
Lighthearted innocence mixes with longing in “Your Name,” the cello again adding gravitas and pulling Hamm just a bit closer to the ground as she remembers a first night, sleeping in two beds side-by-side. Both the instrument and Hamm’s voice come together perfectly as the chorus arches into the close, a pairing nearly as inspiring as the one Hamm has found.
Perhaps the most captivating part of the EP is the surprising, delicate balance that seems to exist between Hamm’s newfound love and a crooning voice that often sounds like it should belong to someone much more world-weary than her. It’s a startling, stunning combination that—in the end—leaves you feeling like maybe you should abandon some of your own doubts, and throw yourself fully into the fray along with her.
Top Track: “Paper Hearts”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)