Haley Heynderickx Credit: Alessandra Leimer

Mama Bird Recordings in Portland, Oregon, has been positioning itself at the center of the transcendental hippie coffee shop scene by releasing album after album of dreamy, meditative folk. In early March they added a new highlight to their catalog with the debut album by Haley Heynderickx, I Need to Start a Garden. Heynderickx has a knack for hitting folksy cliches dead-on for true believers, then sliding off of them just enough to keep others interested. “Untitled God Song” features lyrical acoustic playing and Heynderickx warbling about an imagined earth mother: “Oh maybe my god / Has thick hips and big lips / And the button she’s pressing / She speaks every language.” She then reveals that the celestial being is playing Nintendo while the music expands into a full rock band with horns, making the last segment of the song sound more like the Velvet Underground than Joni Mitchell. “Oom Sha La La” is a delightfully odd detour into girl-group pop. “The olives got old / I’m tired of my mind getting heavy with mold / I need to start a garden / I need to start a garden!” she shrieks with punk fervor before nestling down again into the expressive melody of “Drinking Song.” “And the edge of the world makes it seem / That everyone gone is still singing the same song.” That line comes with an audible wink; everyone else may sing that same song, but Heynderickx knows hers is a little different.   v