Video: Sam Barron “Karaoke Queen”

Mother West, 2021

New York City’s Sam Barron has just released ‘Karaoke Queen‘, a track from his forthcoming album, ‘A Prayer for a Field Mouse‘.

Barron has reunited with producer Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, The Bones of J.R. Jones, Soko), with the pair having first worked together nearly twenty years ago. Back then, Barron was just getting heavily involved in the city’s fledgling Antifolk scene housed at The Sidewalk Café, performing alongside regulars like Jeffrey Lewis, Turner Cody and Brooke Pridemore.

Karaoke Queen‘ opens with some warm acoustic guitar and bass, and Barron’s voice is backed up with some gentle accordion, nicely understated harmonies and some beautiful pedal steel. The arrangement of the various parts never overwhelms Barron’s wonderfully relaxed vocal, and Newman successfully manages to keep everything simple and uncluttered. Bassist Byron Issacs (The Lumineers, Lost Leaders), Eva Mikhailnova (Eva & The Vagabond Tales) on vocals and accordion, and Jack Mcloughlin on pedal steel, all made their contributions remotely from their home studios. Despite the physical distance between contributors, Newman and Barron have successfully brought it all together to produce an impressively cohesive, touching and enjoyable track.

Commenting on the effects of the pandemic, and the move for most of us to the online world, Barron says, “We are just lost souls out on the network now. Who knows where we are going to end up as individuals or as a culture. ‘A Prayer for a Field Mouse’ for me is about getting out of society’s dread suck, and into the joys of simply surviving.”

Karaoke Queen‘ recounts the struggles a woman faces through her lifetime, as her options and opportunities diminish with the years and how she finds some unexpected joy and reconnection in an unlikely setting. The promo is directed by and stars actor and activist Alexandra Tydings and follows the woman as she makes her way through the streets of New York City until she steps into a downtown bar. Looking for some form of solace, it doesn’t come from alcohol but the healing power of music as she, along with the other patrons of the bar, find release from the weight of their everyday cares by taking their turn at the karaoke machine. It’s a joyful and uplifting promo that never strays into cloying or saccharine.

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