“Now my rib cage is bursting at the seams,” Stefanie Bannister sings, starting the second verse on I Admit I Am Glad, her deceptively cheery debut. “My guts and my bones, they are spilling out of me.”
As she does throughout the album’s eight other songs, Bannister — who now performs as Stefanie Santana — plays baritone ukulele on “All the Obstacles,” gracing her words with percolating plucks as Steve Tirozzi adds some sprightly electric guitar. Their combined melody moves at a bright country amble that belies Bannister’s visceral and metaphorically graphic confession of hidden hurt. It’s par for the course on I Admit I Am Glad, a compelling collection that finds the Columbia-based songwriter spilling her emotional innards atop unfailingly fetching folk arrangements — a familiar juxtaposition, but one that fits Bannister better than most.
—Jordan Lawrence, Free Times
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