AUK favourite Doug Hoekstra’s latest single is a delightfully personal tribute to his son, Jude, who appears throughout the video. The footage from the pair’s expeditions mirrors Jude’s life-journey and growth. Many songs that celebrate children are gentle ballads and lullabies but Hoekstra’s ‘Carry Me’ intentionally captures the hope and the happiness of parenthood experiences through its upbeat rhythms and tuneful delivery. Hoekstra sings: “Proud of who I was, proud of who we were // and then your feet touch the ground // and you ran beyond my reach to be free // carry me,” mindful that the ways in which our children need to be carried change over time. ‘Carry Me’ is one of those songs that makes you smile and reflect on your own connections to loved ones and how these have changed over time. Sonically, the layers, melody and blend of styles are refreshing and engaging, resulting in an uplifting, foot-tapping song to remember.
Hoekstra explains the inspiration behind the song and video: “When my son Jude was little, we’d go for a hike at Radnor Lake in Nashville, and it wouldn’t take long for him to reach up and shout, ‘Carry Me.’ And I would. Time goes on, things change, but it’s still something you do as a parent, in a different way. Somehow I get as much or more from this dynamic than he does, over the years, and this song tries to get at that idea – we are all connected, taking turns carrying each other as our lives go on. So, the song is personal, but of course, it’s framed on this idea of equanimity. It was also a good excuse for me to slip into reggae mode and play some melodica. I love reggae, but beyond that it’s probably more common for the song about your kids to be more in ballad more. I wanted this to be more up tempo, to evoke the joy in that experience. For the video, I had this idea of digging into my personal archives to cull footage from the many places we used to go, to hike and wander and share – but I wanted the clips to be focused on movement or the trails themselves always going forward. When I started editing, I also pulled one other images that mirror the lyrics, in a direct or parallel way, so as you watch the videos you see the changes in place, time and my son, as he grows up, from a little guy at the beginning at Radnor Lake to a young man at Acadia National Park at the end.”
‘Carry Me’ is taken from the 2021 album ‘The Day Deserved’, which we described as: “Poetic observations of people, places and times unencumbered by musical boundaries.” Indeed, there’s a bit of everything in there, including folk, rock and unmistakable reggae rhythms and sounds. Various influences are in evidence from Dylan to The Velvet Underground, via The Kinks. For the video, footage has been pulled from 22 different treks in beautiful locations, from Scottish lochs to great American National Parks, and we feel like we’re taking the journey alongside Doug and Jude; it’s a privilege to accompany them and, in doing so, to reflect on our own familial connections and memories. Joyful.