Here is the latest single from Ohio’s Shannon Clark & The Sugar, a family trio known for gorgeous harmonies and sensitive, heartfelt lyrics. Husband and wife Shannon and Brittany Clark, performing with their daughter Navie since 2019, have found a beautifully engaging blend of soulful Americana. Together, they write songs full of heart and humanity, addressing real themes with depth and sensitivity. ‘The Burden’ is a great example of their emotional narratives and compassionate approach to song-writing. Over a gently pulsing rhythm, Shannon’s delicate, story-telling voice is elevated by Navie’s aching vocal, which has a hint of something grittier. They complement one another perfectly and ‘The Burden’ flows on their melodic currents.
Lyrically, there’s an intimate conversation going on, here, and the listener is drawn into a familial tale. Shannon Clark explains: “‘The Burden’ tells the story of a young pregnant girl and her trying to make the decision whether to have an abortion or not. The song takes you through her imagination and her contemplation of the angles and what it would mean for her and her child. I wrote this song after overhearing a conversation between a father and his young daughter at a small town coffee shop. He was pressuring her to abort her baby and she was struggling with the idea. I don’t know what became of her situation so I wrote the song how I imagined she would have felt. There are songs about this subject in many different ways. As Parents this would be the most difficult thing to have to talk to with a child.” The song’s themes are brought out further by a well-crafted video, featuring charming family scenes in beautiful, natural surroundings. It’s a privilege to feel part of the family’s joyful moments, especially since they have used music to reinforce their bonds following the tragic loss of their second daughter in the mid-2000s. For some time, the music stayed at home but continued to be a feature of family life and it’s played a part in the healing process.
The song is taken from the trio’s 2021 album, ‘Marks on the Wall’, produced by GRAMMY-winning Mark Howard, who has worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams and Emmy Lou Harris. Howard’s polished production brings out the warmth of all the instrumental layers with a soothing clarity. He says of the album: “This record has the magic; keep your eyes open for this one.” Check it out but start here with ‘The Burden’. Beautiful stuff. Enjoy.
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