Here is the moody new single from Jamiee Harris. ‘The Fair and Dark Haired Lad’ is a co-write with Dirk Powell (Joan Baez, Rhiannon Giddens) and Katrine Noel (Les Hay Babies) that began as a conversation about vices at a songwriting workshop. In the end, it led to a collaborative song about the impact of addiction as Harris recalls: “Dirk brought in the idea of using the character ‘The Fair and Dark Haired Lad’ to represent the alluring, insidious nature of alcoholism.” Musically, the song is layered and absorbing: Michele Gazich’s swirling violin, Powell’s accordion and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hallman’s guitar and Hammond organ create a sweeping current for Harris’s darkly melodic vocal to float upon.
The accompanying video, directed by Anana Kaye and Irakli Gabriel, is an outstanding piece of work in its own right: inventive, atmospheric and artfully shot and edited. Gabriel says of the project: “When an artist whom you deeply respect and admire asks you to create a visual accompaniment to their song, it’s both inspiring and a little intimidating. The idea is to create a little work of visual art that stands on its own two feet and yet is seamlessly interwoven with the music and lyrics, allowing them to shine while hopefully adding an extra element of the unexpected for the viewer and listener. ‘The Fair and Dark Haired Lad’ was a standout to us right away. The deep groove goes straight to the gut, the screaming guitar pierces the air and punches you in all the right places and the gorgeously weeping violin provides a dash of comfort. Jaimee delivers the lyrics with a chilling directness that reveals the mystery behind them just enough, while allowing the imagination to do the rest.” Aided by Chelsea McGinty, who delivers a superb performance as both Rose and ‘The Fair and Dark Haired Lad’, the director duo have certainly created an effective video that reinforces and enhances the music with touches of classic horror.
The single is the third from ‘Boomerang Town’, the new album due out on 17th February 2023. Anyone who likes their country-folk to be layered and atmospheric should pre-order the album here. This collection covers themes from addiction and mental health to family and the things that bind communities and people together. It’s a sensitive exploration of what it means to live in America today. Harris summarises the album thoughtfully: “Why was I able to get out of my boomerang town? Why are others stuck there, longing to leave but unable to find their way out? Writing these songs, bringing these narrators to life, brought me closer to the answers. Even though I was able to leave, I was not able to escape the generational cycle of addiction and mental illness. I had to deconstruct my Evangelical upbringing, keeping the good things I took from it (the importance of service and loving my neighbor), and rejecting the bigotry and brainwashing – then find faith again, my own way, outside of religion, through recovery, fellowship, and the alchemy of songwriting. My hometown is no different than the hometown of millions of others. These songs tell the story of what it is like to live in these towns, in these times. This is what it’s like to be a part of the post ‘Born to Run’ generation. Springsteen’s generation had somewhere to run to. I’m not so sure mine does. Whether or not you grew up in a small town or were born and raised in New York City, I bet you can relate to these characters. I bet you know what it feels like to grieve the loss of a loved one or a dream. I bet you’ve experienced how one seemingly small decision can alter the course of your entire life, for better or worse. These characters are a reflection of a people whose resilience, hope, and faith is being tested.” This is definitely an album to check out.
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