Before she could find happiness in her songwriting, Kara Hartzell had to embrace heartbreak.
That experience is captured, vividly, on her recently released self-titled debut EP.
"I wanted to get the (album) done because I knew I was moving on with my life and wanted to close that chapter," Hartzell said during a recent phone interview. "I wanted to to move so I could write happy, sappy romantic things."
The songs that make up Kara Hartzell are raw and honest. Together, they weave together a story of love lost, self-exploration and, in the end, love found.
"Track two it's me moving on, even though I still had pictures (of her ex-husband) on the wall. Track three is very angry, about the lingering emotions that come up, even though you're done with the relationship." Hartzell said. "The last track is about letting go. My whole year was put into these four songs."
The album reflects the folk, pop and rock influences that have shaped the Bangor-based musician as a singer-songwriter. "When I was writing, all of it was really tuning into the different emotions I had," Hartzell said.
The album was recorded at Kevin Soffera's Hybrid Studios in Lower Nazareth Township. Soffera -- whose credits include tours with Breaking Benjamin and Seether -- performed drums on the album. "Kevin’s a super down-to-earth guy and easy to work with. He's very apt to take my suggestions to heart and work together to make sure we the project sounds good."
Prior to launching her solo career, Hartzell cut her teeth as a bassist for folk-rock trio Alex Mary and the Townsmen, and prior to that, alt-rockers A Golden Era.
Hartzell is optimistic about her future and the road the musical possibilities that await her. She recently got engaged to musician George Young. "I've been writing some new things about what's going on in my life," Hartzell said. "I'm excited about challenging myself and learning new things as a guitarist."
You can catch Hartzell in concert Friday on the South Bethlehem Greenway as part of the "Out to Lunch" series. (Show time is noon.) Later that day, Hartzell will perform 7 p.m. at Shawnee Craft Brewing Company in Smithfield Township. Hartzell and Young will perform Sept. 8 at Scratch in Easton.