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Reagan Boggs was riding a wave of critical acclaim when in 2009 she gave birth to her first son. Priorities changed and the Virginia native began to shift her focus on family as she took a break from a near constant touring schedule. “You kind of go through a period where you learn about who you are outside of music,” Boggs says. “You find interests that you didn’t even know you had. But it left a really big hole there.”
While Boggs is not complaining about her choice of spending time with her young son, a theme developed as she began writing her current album, Quicksand. “This album represents the constant tug-of-war that can go on in the mind be-tween hopes and expectations and the reality of what is known as “life happens,” she explains. “It illustrates the difficulty of change and how easily we are drug down by acceptance.”
The “quicksand” theme resonates throughout the 13 songs on the album, revealing a raw side that crosses a range of emotions from insecurity, hopelessness, loss and revelation. With her rich voice, she strips bare stark realities, feelings and situations that trap people in jobs, places and relation-ships. The album is not all “depressing,” she says with a laugh. While the overall mood may be serious, “these are the things we struggle with, or at least I do.”
Quicksand marks a departure of sorts from Boggs’ previous releases, Never Looking Behind and Right Now. It gets its name from “Can’t Do Life,” a song that Boggs wrote nearly five years ago. She showcases her Pound, VA heritage in the light-hearted track, “Appalachia,” that has a roots-feel mixed with a little JJ Cale. “Not the New Me” leans more toward a blues or Motown vibe, and the driving acoustic guitar in “Come to Me” is reminiscent of early Steve Earle. “When it Mattered,” a good-bye lullaby with a sarcastic edge, may have fit nicely on AM Country playlists in the 1960’s.
The album also features a unique rendition of Eddie Vedder’s “Better Man,” delivered in first-person. “The idea was to have listeners ‘see’ through a woman’s voice,” Boggs explains. “Abuse is not always physical or visible, and leaving or being alone seems much worse than just dealing with it. It’s such a great song— with such an unnerving production.”
Boggs again teams with producer / engineer Eric Fritsch (Sheryl Crow, Scott Miller) of Eastwood Studios in Nashville, TN. Quicksand features an array of talented musicians including Fritsch providing multiple parts, Dave Coleman of The Coal Men singing and playing steel guitar on the duet “You Deserve Better.” Paul Griffith (John Prine, Chris Knight), Steve Bowman (Counting Crows) and Matt Crouse (Billy Dean, Savannah Jack) play drums on the album. Park Chisolm (Kevin Costner, Jo Dee Messina) and Bones Hillman (Midnight Oil, Elizabeth Cook) are featured on electric and upright bass. David Duffy (Elvis Perkins) plays the violin and Eric Brace
(Last Train Home) also helps tell the story of “Better Man.”