Track Premiere: Vanessa Peters “How Long”

Photo: Rip Rowan

There are no two ways about this – Vanessa Peters’ ‘How Long‘ is a truly beautiful song, with relatable lyrics woven around vignettes of lives on the precipice.  Everything is fine and then everything falls apart, the song explains in vivid details, with a chorus that hints at time healing and ways forward being found.  Except for the first verse where “a friend called today, said he lost his wife / she was only 52 and still so full of life/  and the way his voice cracked across the line / raised the hair on my neck and for a moment it stopped time.”  It’s a song, then, that is brave enough to acknowledge that some things have no resolution, and that there are really no helpful words.

How Long‘ is also the de facto title track of the new release from Vanessa Peters which is called ‘Flying On Instruments‘, as Vanessa told Americana UK: “The title track to the album, ‘Flying on Instruments,’ comes from the bridge of this song.  It’s a phrase most people are probably familiar with in aviation terms — when a pilot has to fly the plane based on the sensors and gauges because visibility is reduced or non-existent. In the context of the song (and the album in general), it refers to those moments in life where you can’t seem to see the path forward and you really feel quite stuck and unable to choose a direction and all you can do is rely on your gut.  I have a particular soft spot for this song, because the chorus came about during a conversation I was having with my husband about being an optimist (generally speaking I consider myself one) and how despite all of the terrible things going on in the world over the last few years, I was still optimistic about the future… I kind of sighed heavily and said “but I wish I knew how long it would take to get here.” That stuck in my mind and became the refrain of the chorus.  Each little vignette in the song is a true story based on friends that were each going through a seriously rough patch, and how I wished so much to be able to help each of them with their pain and tough decisions, but there’s no way to do that really…. you just have to standby and hope that everyone you love manages to fly their craft straight.”

Vanessa Peters has been regularly releasing albums of well-crafted folk-rock gems for nearly two decades. She has played thousands of shows across the US and Europe and has opened for artists like Josh Rouse, Nina Persson & James Yorkston, 10,000 Maniacs, John Oates, and Matthew Sweet.  ‘Flying on Instruments‘ is released on February 23rd, and Vanessa Peters has some dates in The Netherlands and Germany at the end of February and early March.

About Jonathan Aird 2694 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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