Studio Life: Satin Nickel

New York band Satin Nickel are set to release their first full album this April, which will be the follow-up to their self-titled EP in 2018.  Their debut album ‘Shadow of Doubt’ is a collection of songs exploring renewal and starting over.  The band features Morgan Hollingsworth (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Samantha Aneson (vocals, guitar, banjo), Andrew Shewaga, (bass), Nikola Balac (drums) and Ariana Karp (cello).  The contrasting styles of the songwriters, Hollingsworth and Aneson, complement one another well, blending Aneson’s folk roots with a rich Americana sound.  AUK caught up with Anseon to find out more about one of the album’s key tracks, ‘Free’.

There are a range of influences in your new single, ‘Free’. Can you tell us the ‘story’ behind creating the song and what inspired you musically?

I usually write songs by messing around on my guitar. ‘Free’ is the result of an improvisation I recorded, and I kept essentially the entire improvisation. The melody is usually improvised as well, and I keep the idea of it and make tweaks. This song, the words seemed to spill out of my mouth, as I was dealing with a lot of remorse at the time.

I knew I would move to NYC, but the longer I stay here, the more permanent it feels, and the longer I want to stay. Unfortunately, that leaves me 3,000 miles from my family and a lot of my closest friends. At the time of writing ‘Free’, I was at the beginning of a journey that I didn’t realise was starting. My mother, who is my best friend, was starting down a road towards a sickness we now know she has. I felt the permanence of my decision and the time that I had lost with her before I even knew she was going to get sick. The song becomes more resonant with me every day, as it all progresses.

I think we live in an extremely unique time, for several reasons, but, namely, that we’re able to travel the globe and uproot ourselves relatively easily. I have always been an adventurer of sorts, and, while that has created a life for me that I love, it comes with immense sacrifices. This song, to me, is a meditation on choosing the future over the past. Choosing adventure over family and warmth and having to grapple with the consequences of that decision.

Working on this song with my band was incredibly cathartic and continues to be healing. I got to hear the way it was meant to move when Nikola added his beat to it. I got to hear the way it cried with Morgan’s slide guitar and Ariana’s cello. It was Morgan’s idea to have the A Cappella break where we harmonize with the cello, and I can’t imagine it any other way now. It gives the song the freefall sensation that I feel here.

Being able to collaborate with my bandmates on arrangements is so fulfilling. This song is a perfect example of how my band often brings my ideas to life.

Lyrics:

Free

Open road, is it smart
Running from an empty heart?
Living fast, leaving home
Is it worth being alone?

Well, I’m free
Yeah, I’m free
Oh, I’m free
To be

Open road, is it smart
Running from an empty heart?
Living fast, dying slow,
Do I know the way to go?

Well, I’m free
Yeah, I’m free
Oh, I’m free
To be

Well, I’m free
Yeah, I’m free
Oh, I’m free…

Author: Andrew Frolish

From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Lukas Nelson, Midland, Jarrod Dickenson.

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