“Music is magical.” That’s the way singer-songwriter Kari Arnett described the process of creating her latest album, “When the Dust Settles.”
Arnett normally performs live as a solo act, but when creating her 2018 album, she gathered a group of musicians from the Twin Cities area.
“When we were producing the record and trying to get that feel for the record, everyone kind of instinctively knew what they were doing,” Arnett recently told “Simply Folk” host Dan Robinson. “And so when the sound finally came as like a full unit, I was just pleasantly surprised that it actually came out the way that I was envisioning it the whole time.”
Stay informed on the latest news
Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.
The album is a collection of personal reflections on her life at the time she wrote the songs, Arnett said, balancing hope and challenge.
“It’s filled with a lot of hopefulness, I guess, wading through the darkness — what happens to you after the dust settles in your life,” she said.
Arnett’s band shows off a warm but tight Americana sound on songs that portray the balance in life, from the title track, “When the Dust Settles,” to the tone-setting “Dark Water” that leads off the disc.
“I feel like life is about balance,” Arnett added. “If we’re having a bad day, we try to counteract it with something good or we try to stay positive. I think that’s kind of a message to myself, too, when I was writing these songs … even though there is darkness and negativity, whether it’s personal or societal, I think staying positive and trying to keep that open mind is important.”
Arnett has been open on social media about some of the struggles in her life, and sharing her story is part of her work as an artist.
“If I can help somebody through what I’m going through, then I feel like that’s when my work is really important,” she said.
On the album’s song, “Breaking is Easy,” Arnett offers that support when she sings, “Some days feel so right. Some days feel so wrong. I hope you find the strength to carry on.”
It’s the magic of music and companionship that listeners can find on Arnett’s album.
Trustworthy news, world-class music and Wisconsin stories … made possible by people like you.
Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2024, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.