Music

Gill Landry - "Denver Girls" (video) (premiere)

Photo: Alyssa Gafkjen

Gill Landry's new solo work is impressive and evokes the wide open spaces and lost highways of the American West.

Gill Landry's first musical life was with Old Crow Medicine Show, one of the finest Americana ensembles in the world. But Landry had different artistic goals, and so he left the successful group after winning his second Grammy and has forged his own path as a solo artist.

Having also endured the heartbreak of a recent breakup of a serious relationship, Landry set out to explore those feelings in music and find a light in the darkness, a method to escape the darkness on his second album, Love Rides a Dark Horse, which released 6 October via ATO Records.

Landry's latest single "Denver Girls" highlights his aesthetic direction as he goes for a more "western" sound -- as in the American West -- that evokes wide open spaces, a gentle melancholia, and the strong lyrical focus of a singer-songwriter. Landry's deep and weathered voice compares favorably to Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, as does his songwriting.

Landry says, "'Denver Girls' is the last song I wrote for the album. It just flowed out one night and became the missing key that (at least for me) helps informs the direction of the rest of the songs. The main inspiration is Buddha and the unraveling of the narratives of time and god, as well as the amplified mental anguish that came with deconstructing the prison of my many fictitious constructs that were hiding in plain sight. The only way to win this war is by surrendering to where you are. It’s about a walk through fire with the reward of seeing the flames for what they are and finding yourself unburned and present on the other side, hence 'sure was worth the while'.

"For the video, I turned to the abstract photography of Nouel Riel who’s been a distant artistic muse of mine and who I’ve since become friends with helped inspire the direction. I wrote her to see if she had any ideas and she created half the footage which I felt embodied perfectly the feeling I wanted to reach for which is expressive and vague. My best hope in videos is that they will stimulate new thoughts and feelings that would help spark people to draw their own new meaning from a song rather than a video that leads them by the hand with something I have some difficulty explaining in the first place. I see songs as sparks that can be a wildfire for a mind or heart at certain times and for me writing songs is the distillation of hard to pin down ideas and/or feeling into the poetry of lyric and I often find if they're analytically explained or detailed like a movie the essence of open imagination can tend to get snuffed, lost, or muddied."

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** w/ Ian Felice

^ w/ Valerie June

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