The latest single from Teni Rane is simply gorgeous. From the opening notes of GRAMMY-nominated Dave Eggar’s warm and soothing cello, ‘Goldenrod’ is the sonic equivalent of the sun’s rays on on a late summer’s day, the season fading into autumn. Musical textures are added by Phil Faconti’s electric guitar and Rane’s acoustic, while Roger Gustafsson’s bass is deep and tuneful. Over this sweeping and evocative soundscape, Teni Rane’s voice is striking, floating slowly through a beautiful melody like the stirring of a gentle autumnal breeze.
Lyrically, Rane’s poetic writing is sensitive and absorbing. Her opening lines set up the narrative and emotional space: “I’ve heard everything changes but I don’t think it’s true // Some things stay the same like how I think of you // When you’re far away and I’m laying here // On my own.” Throughout, the feel is achingly wistful: “And the sunshine was sweet even there in shade // It felt so perfect that I got afraid // Of the moment when you might not love me anymore.” This gentle resistance and sadness about the transience of things, even in happier moments, is thoughtfully delivered and that sense of impermanence is a feeling many listeners will associate with.
Rane says of the song and its themes: “There is something reassuring about the waltz of a field of goldenrod in the late summer – the bees and the breeze and the slow mirage of time like heat rising off a curving road winding high into the mountains. A feeling that the moment might be capturable, maintainable, fixed in a golden memory. The in-between moments in the seasons are my favorites. When the blinding heat of summer is fighting the giving way to gusty autumn evenings and bright crisp mornings. As much as I enjoy the tension of those moments in nature, I am less of a fan of it in my own life. Change – even chosen, planned for change – is incredibly difficult for me.”
The artfully-shot video, filmed near the Blue Ridge Mountains in East Tennessee, is perfectly executed and reinforces the feel of the song and lyrical intent. We see images of Rane tending her garden interspersed with her dancing in the glow and lengthening shadows of the dipping sun. Director of photography and editor Rachael Porter has created a video as visually appealing as the music is absorbing. Choreography is from Sarah Long, who also stars alongside Rane.
It is clear that a huge amount of thought, creativity and sensitivity went into the production of the video. Rane offers some real insights into how it all came together: “I knew from the moment that I wrote this gentle waltz of a song that if ever there was a music video to accompany it, it would be a dance driven story. I almost titled the work ‘The Goldenrod Waltz’ – that felt a little heavy handed so instead we worked hard to make the instrumentation evoke the sway and the dance of goldenrod in the late summer breeze. Along with the dance element (which was daunting to jump back into after having not participated in a performance dance for over a decade!) I wanted to capture that common feeling of being in the middle of a task and having one small thing transport you to a different memory, place, and time. The storyboard follows the simple task of putting together an arrangement of flowers in the garden while being bombarded with thoughts that are tinged with doubt and eventually throw off concentration completely and take centre stage in the brain. There is a little bit of beauty in being thrown off course for a while and having to really intentionally pause and reset and come back to the present moment. At the end of the story, there is a tiny moment of magical realism where the goldenrod has been transported back to the greenhouse – a symbol of time and change and also of accepting that our doubts can be there and also not control us. It was a JOY to dance with Sarah again who is a long time friend and was a common casting companion with me in our high school dance program. She is an extremely talented dancer and choreographer and was incredible to work with as a friend and as a collaborator on translating the storyboard and the emotions of the song into the movements and the moments of losing ourselves to fears and the chatty inner voices that can often rule our inner world and the opportunity to come back together again, to reassure, and to carry our lessons forward. Rachael is an incredible film-maker and did an incredible job making the vision come to life. We spent a lot of time on the pre-production together planning out the shoot times and scouting locations to best set ourselves up for success. We relied on the evening golden hour to light and also compliment the storyboard from those intense, bright moments and into the softening as the settling and calming and letting go comes to be. She has an amazing eye for framing shots and an incredible way of listening and helping to translate the storyboard into shot lists and editing angels that turned out so so beautifully. It was an amazing team and a huge learning experience for me. The number of people who directly and indirectly contributed to making this video a reality is incredible! From those who sent photos of potential shoot locations, to lending tents for the shoot day, to weed eating the dance spaces, and helping make lists of helpful items to have with us day of… a massive effort for 3 minutes and 53 seconds of warm tones and a story arc that is dear to me. I’m so glad that this video is available now and will be there to receive the balance of the Goldenrod Album in 2024.”
This is one of four singles to be released as the ‘Goldenrod’ singles – check them all out but start here with this captivating exploration of change, impermanence and the passage of time. Beautiful stuff.