Named after the lake not far from her parents’ house in Alabama, Waxahatchee began as a solo project for musician Katie Crutchfield in 2011. Crutchfield had been writing songs since her early teens and played for a while with her twin sister Allison in the scrappy punk outfit P.S. Eliot. That group disbanded around the time of a serious breakup, and Crutchfield stole away to her parents’ country home, where she recorded the songs that would become Waxahatchee’s lo-fi debut full-length, 2012’s American Weekend.
The confessional songs on the project’s debut gained Waxahatchee more exposure, and Crutchfield began performing in and around Philadelphia and assembled a backing band for Waxahatchee live shows. In early 2015, Waxahatchee signed with Merge Records for the U.S. release of their third LP, Ivy Tripp. Continuing a trend toward a fuller, more aggressive sound that draws on and updates ‘90s indie rock, the album saw release in April of that year and marked her debut on the Billboard 200. Joined in the studio by producer John Agnello, Allison Crutchfield, bassist Katherine Simonetti and drummer Ashley Arnwine, among others, Katie Crutchfield followed Ivy Tripp in 2017 with the defiant Out in the Storm, about overcoming a toxic relationship.
A year later, she reversed course and revisited material from Great Thunder, her side duo with Keith Spencer. Stripping down arrangements to mostly piano, the six-track Great Thunder EP arrived via Merge in 2018.