Oregon singer-songwriter Katherine Paul explores community

Katherine Paul, who records and performs as Black Belt Eagle Scout, crafted her 2017 debut, Mother of My Children, with personal aims in mind. “I definitely made it first and foremost for myself, just to have something to hold onto from that time in my life,” she said in a May interview with Alive. But on her sophomore album, released in August, the indigenous Oregon singer-songwriter adopts a more communal gaze evident from its title alone: At the Party with My Brown Friends (Saddle Creek).

Fittingly, the record is largely a gentler, dreamier affair, Paul crafting immersive indie-folk tunes steeped in concepts of love, fellowship and family. “Going to the Beach with Hayley” is a playful, Casio-driven meditation on friendship, recounting a road trip with fellow musician Haley Heynderickx. Other songs take more deeply personal turns, such as staggering album-closer “You’re Me and I’m You,” on which the musician addresses the uniquely spiritual mother-daughter relationship, delivering warmly sun-bleached lines atop softly strummed guitar and muted, heartbeat drums. Collectively, the songs paint a portrait of kinship and connection, detailing those places to which Paul can retreat in those moments that outside forces threaten to unmoor.