Abigail Dowd
Photo: Angela Kerr

Folkie Abigail Dowd’s ‘Beautiful Day’ Ruminates on Perseverance (album stream)

Abigail Dowd’s Beautiful Day finds its roots in the hardships that she and her husband had faced dealing with six house floods in a year.

From album to album, Abigail Dowd’s songwriting exists in nature as organically as a flowing river. “In our last interview,” she told PopMatters. “I spoke of songwriting as a lonely battlefield, and it felt that way on my second album. This time the process felt rooted in something larger than me and my own stories. Maybe I had to clear out my own stories on that last album to be able to get out of the way and write this one.”

Her third studio LP, Dowd’s Beautiful Day is set to release on 23 April. The album finds its roots in the hardships that she and her husband had faced between September 2018 and October 2019, dealing with the effects of six house floods over the course of a year. The first came shortly after their marriage, along with Hurricane Florence, and they had to move in with his parents. It was then that Dowd began letting the songs that comprise Beautiful Day flow through her.

The rolling nostalgia of “One Moment at a Time” comes in like a burst of sunlight during trying moments. The album’s title track is like a revelation, too, inducing a sense of hopefulness in lonesome times. For Abigail Dowd, it came along amidst Dowd’s whirlwind year, inspired by storm after storm and renovation after renovation coming undone. Misfortune shapes Beautiful Day and, yet, its overarching themes all loop back into a sense of sheer, wily perseverance. Throughout, her timeless vocals convey this pursuance of hope with captivating grace.

Dowd further explains her songwriting approach with Beautiful Day, stating, “There is a lot of trust in this album, starting with the songwriting process. Leaning in without the fear of writing a bad song or worrying about editing what comes out. I trusted the songs to flow and find their own way, and they did. I showed up and let words roll out.”

“I remember with the song ‘Beautiful Day’, there was a curiosity about where the song was going, and I’d riff on words until the message got clear and came out whole. Then I’d move on to the next section and so on. I learned to have fun and trust the song to find its way – and to stay out of the way, but also to show up 100% and be accountable for my part. The same thing in the studio, recording these songs: I learned how much fun it is to let go of control and expectations and see how it all comes together on the music, letting each person explore and show up, while at the same time remembering my role and using my voice when I needed to.”

“Best of all, I felt the power of music and creation in a way that I never have before,” Dowd reflects. “This album was made with a lot of compassion for whomever it reaches. Ultimately, themes of perseverance, resilience, and faith ended up weaving throughout the album and connecting these songs together. My hope is that listeners get whatever they want or need from these songs, and maybe that will shape-shift over time.”

Abigail Dowd’s Beautiful Day releases 23 April. It may be pre-ordered via her website.

PopMatters