Photographers refer to the time just before sunset as ‘the golden hour’; it’s the moment when the light is just right for capturing their subject perfectly. In the new single from Jill Rogers and Crying Time, this idea is used as a metaphor to explore the way we view our memories in the best light, misremembering or embellishing the details. ‘Golden Hour’ is upbeat and joyful-sounding, with fast-paced fiddle from Tony Marcus and Myles Boisen’s jaunty guitar reinforcing the sense of positivity that hides the tension and darkness in the lyrical narrative. Rogers’ voice is clear and pure, finding an engaging tune and keeping the listener’s attention throughout. Rogers says of the song: “This is one of those songs that just coughed itself up mostly finished. Most of my songs are like the game Two Truths and a Lie – there’s definitely some real-life in here, but that’s just a starting point.”
The accompanying video is mostly made up of a swiftly-moving sequence of photographs, all of which were provided by the band members and their friends. There are rural images, including beautiful sunsets, and urban shots of Oakland, California, where the band is based. Again, that contrast fits neatly with the song’s themes. Interspersed with these images that focus on different locations, there are closeups of flowers and weeds and personal photos, such as Tony Marcus’s vintage childhood photos from his youth in the 1960s. All the band members appear, as does Jill Rogers’ daughter. Collectively, these photos make for an intriguing visual, reinforcing Rogers’ lyrics, and representing fleeting, flickering memories of places and experiences.
The song is taken from ‘Many Worlds Theory’, the forthcoming fifth album from Jill rogers and Crying Time, which is due to drop on 7th April 2023. Rogers’ notes of the link between physics and music, a focus of the title track: “There’s an idea in quantum mechanics that at any decision point where more than one outcome is available, all the outcomes happen in worlds that exist in parallel.” Quantum mechanics is an ambitious topic to cover on a country record but Rogers and her band tackle the subject with confidence. It’s about the many possibilities and the doubts and uncertainties of what might have been, themes that keep recurring throughout the record. She continues: “The making of this album stretched over six months and was the source of the worst fights we’ve ever had as a band! We fought about the level of the vocals, Tony’s violin parts, the cover art – you name it. I think we’re okay now, but I don’t think we have enough perspective yet to look back fondly at its making. But it’s a damn good record.” Marcus adds, “Recording an album can be stressful. Having a resident recording engineer as lead guitarist kept everything more relaxed, which encourages more risk taking. I’ve really enjoyed playing on Jill’s new songs, which venture into different and interesting musical directions for the band.”
This is thoughtful music, delivered with foot-tapping, get-dancing urgency. Enjoy.