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Ears Wide Open: Juana Everett

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If the title, “Move On,” doesn’t do the trick, the opening track of singer-songwriter Juana Everett’s debut album paints a picture of what is to come.

“Early in the summer of 2016 / Brave as I could be I left my home / I wasn’t sure of what I was chasing / why I carried on,” Everett sings in a direct, conversational style (reminiscent of Courtney Barnett) on “Drifter of Love.”

The album chronicles the emotional detritus of packing up and moving from her native Madrid, Spain, to a strange land 6,000 miles away, Los Angeles. Weighted by the baggage of the troubled relationship and family turmoil she left behind, the songs on “Move On” emerged slowly as Everett, the daughter of an English teacher, found her footing in L.A. In doing so, the 35-year-old moved away from the harder music of her past toward a folk/indie-rock style. “It was getting in touch with my feelings instead of raging as a way to mask them,” she says.

“My strength as an artist is to express the things I feel in the truest way. I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety and some depression. Now I’m very aware of how your mental well-being is really important. It’s like a rubber band. You can stretch it and let it go. But if you stretch it too much it may not come back to the original shape.”

Collaborators on the album include L.A. luminaries such as guitarist Bart Davenport, drummer Andres Renteria, bassist Aaron Olson (L.A. Takedown) and pianist-composer Josh Nelson.

The latest single, “Wind Whistle Blow” (out last week), finds Everett preaching self-reliance, backed by bluesy, crushing guitar riffs to drive home the point. Dark times may come, but, she sings, “I know that I can stand up on my feet / Telling myself to be patient.”

“Move On” is out Jan. 22.

||| Stream: “Drifter of Love,” “Until the Sky Ain’t Blue” and “Wind Whistle Blow”

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