Upbeat melodies and crisp production inject a cool buoyancy into Weather Balloon, the full-length debut from OKC singer-songwriter Saige Cross. A number of somber moments are woven into his lyrics, but when paired with Cross’s delicate guitar work and soothing, dexterous voice, they lift off the ground beautifully. If there was any red dirt in his music before, it has since been polished off to a clean shine.
Kicking off with a piano riff and a rhythmic guitar line—there aren’t any fiddles or mandolins here—the album begins with a catchy number called “Economy.” This song sets a bright tone, even featuring a whistle solo that counterpoints its wistful chorus about losing touch with oneself. It’s one of the more upbeat and broadly arranged songs in a track list that’s full of soft peaks and valleys.
Many of the tracks strip down to Cross’s solo guitar and voice, the latter of which proves especially tender in these moments. It isn’t surprising that he feels in his element here, given that his debut EP from last year was built solely from this approach. By comparison, the embellishments supporting other songs like the rousing “Grand Central Station” make Weather Balloon a more dynamic listen, but in an unintrusive way that preserves the intimate core.
When it reaches its downtempo conclusion and reveals the metaphor behind its title, the album’s lofty, acoustic, and often delicate feel becomes especially appropriate. That final track, “365,” echoes an air of acceptance heard in other parts of the album, an acceptance that what goes up must come down.
Saige Cross has assembled a strong effort here that will please many fans of adult contemporary music. For all its soft, acoustic pop elements, Cross’s songwriting proves Weather Balloon to be a grounded album that doesn’t fall flat.
This article was originally written for Literati Press (literatipressok.com). It is archived here with the publisher’s permission.
aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.