Last weekend, fathers everywhere were celebrated by their loved ones. But few tributes would have been as beautiful as this song from the wonderfully talented Amy Speace. ‘Father’s Day’ is delicately played, with the piano and melodic vocal falling together, underpinned by haunting guitar. In this live recording, it’s a privilege to see these gifted musicians at work. As ever, Speace’s voice is clear and resonant, emotional and engaging. However, it’s not just the music that elevates this song. The great success of ‘Father’s Day’ is the lyrics, which are genuine, heartfelt and full of absorbing narrative detail: “Under the pines of West Virginia // Near Blackwater Falls // On a rainy morning // The photograph shows us all // That weekend in the summer // 1972 // Mom’s behind the camera // I was standing next to you // On Father’s Day.” As you listen, you are pulled into the narrative of the family’s happy days, learning about the trees on woodland trips. But as we travel through the story, we realise that it’s now just a memory and the log cabin is a place Speace only visits in her dreams. There is a real sense of poetry in Speace’s words and the emotional impact lives on long after the song is over.
The song is taken from Speace’s recent album, ‘There Used to be Horse’s Here’, which is one of the great albums of 2021 so far. It’s an album full of nostalgia and deep familial relationships. Speace has said that the new album was, “…written between my son’s first birthday and my father’s death, 4 months after his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.” The loss, grief and joy is as complex as that sounds. Most of all, it’s an album full of love. It takes a poet to use language as Speace does to draw all the emotion out of these complicated personal connections and keep us with travelling with her on these intimate journeys through her past and present. If you haven’t already, check out the album – it’s stunning. In the meantime, allow yourself to be absorbed by Amy Speace’s authentic love for her father, expressed so movingly in ‘Father’s Day’.