Photo: Todd Turner

Abigail Dowd’s “Chosin” Ruminates Over the Cost of War (premiere)

Dedicated to her grandfather and a handful of veterans she met at his funeral, folk artist Abigail Dowd reflects on both the good and the bad that he passed on to her.

Throughout life, Abigail Dowd had a set perception of her grandfather. While attending his funeral, however, the North Carolinian artist found a new lens to view him through. “Chosin” is an ode to him and his comrades from the Korean War’s Battle of Chosin, some of whom she had the chance to speak with at the funeral. The plaintive arrangement features robust acoustic guitar and subtle tones of instrumentation that offer themselves well to the song’s feelings of reflection, carried forward most ebulliently by Dowd’s warm, sonorous vocals as she delivers what she calls a love song to the aforementioned.

“‘Chosin’ is a love song to my grandfather,” Dowd tells PopMatters. “An acknowledgment of our shadows, his and mine, and the wars that we carry. It permitted me to love him again despite the coldness and the scars he passed on and revealed the strengths he also passed on.

Dowd continues, “Songwriting sometimes feels like a lonely battlefield. It’s not something I chose. ‘Chosin’ strengthened my resolve to keep fighting for the light and embracing the shadows with all the hard, strong men in my life suddenly re-framed as pillars holding me up instead of leaving me behind.”

“Chosin” will be featured on Dowd’s forthcoming album, Not What I Seem, to be released on 5 April. The album is comprised of songs that, like “Chosin”, were written upon the realization of the split between herself and her experiences.