Pine Hill Project – “Wichita (Gillian Welch cover)” (video) (Premiere)

Americana supergroup Pine Hill Project, helmed by Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky, takes on a Gillian Welch song in their latest music video, "Wichita".

In his 7 out of 10 review of Tomorrow You’re Going, the newest LP by the Americana supergroup Pine Hill Project, PopMatters‘s Ed Whitelock calls it “a joy from start to finish.” Pine Hill Project, led by Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky, were joined by Grammy Award winner and longtime Bob Dylan sideman Larry Campbell for the record, which finds them covering a smattering of songs, spanning folk traditionals to the tunes of U2.

One such cover is by the eminently cover-able Gillian Welch, whose “Wichita” stands out as one of Tomorrow You’re Going“‘s finest cuts. Now the track has a starkly shot music video to back it up, which you can view exclusively below.

Kaplansky tells PopMatters about the video, “[Director] Rick Litvin… conceived the video to be in service of the narrative and the performance, and to suggest, through black and white and color a past and a present. There is a reconciliation between the narrator, the performers, and memory symbolized in the dramatic use of light and shadow. The lighting design was inspired by the lyric ‘and the fields burn in the fall.’ Also, the color palette was intended to suggest the warmth of autumnal light. Rick tried to suggest through performance an interconnection between character, light, place, isolation, and connection.”

Shindell adds, “‘Wichita’ is a good example of what can be set in motion in a three-minute song. Although our first instinct is to sympathize with the song’s protagonist, a woman fleeing a bad marriage, the narrator leads us to wonder if her reasons for leaving might not be a bit on the frivolous side. She comes across as a user, an unhappy consumer, a fair-weather partner. The chorus, however, suggests that the verses are not telling the whole story. The ‘Wichita’ she has in mind seems to be a place where material accumulation is irrelevant to, or at least less important than the sense of belonging, and the kind of natural-mystical order of experience suggested by tall grass, burning fields, and night birds. Finally, the song becomes performative. When the narrator gives us her parting shot, he’s not just telling us what she said. By writing, performing, recording, covering, and broadcasting the song, we’re all doing precisely what she gave permission to do: tell anyone.”

Tomorrow You’re Going is out now via Signature Sounds. Stream and purchase it via the Bandcamp player below: