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First Play: Rachel Beck, self-titled

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Holly Gordon

You may know Rachel Beck as one-half of Charlottetown, P.E.I.’s Beck Sisters, but after two albums with her sister and a Searchlight final round under their belts, Beck is going it alone this time.

Rachel Beck is a collection of broken-hearted songs, as a glance at the tracklist might infer: “When you Left” is a confession that “every breath I take/ I miss you more/ than the one before,” while “Rewind” is a crushing admission: “If I could rewind/ to when your heart was mine/ I would pray for the patience to wait.” Album opener “Reckless Heart” is a fuller, higher tempo pop melody compared to the previous two piano ballads, though the heart is still wandering and wounded on that track, too.

But even in heartbreak, Beck’s voice is strong, reassuring. It’s what ties together her piano-pop melodies, a call in the dark that provides a safe place to land.

Produced and recorded by Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant, the Good Lovelies, David Myles) in Lake Echo, N.S., Rachel Beck may be a solo album, but Beck isn’t vocally alone: you can hear her sister, Amy, on vocal harmonies (and sometimes percussion), providing backup while Rachel flies solo.

It's the sisters' voices joined together that really gives a kick to the seventh and final track, "This Little Light," which borrows from the 1920s gospel song but leans closer to a version of the folk song "When I was a Young Girl." "This Little Light" opens with a banjo, a kickdrum and the line, "When I was a young girl/ my grandma used to say/ count your blessings one by one/ and give more than you take," and builds into the mantra "This little light of mine/ I'm gonna let it shine." It's a rousing, firm nod to say that we're all going to get through this, one little light at a time.

Rachel Beck will be released March 2. Pre-order it here.