Karen & the Sorrows do something better than most: Reveal the true reach and ache of sorrow. Leader Karen Pittelman proves this via their latest cut, “Why Won’t You Come Back to Me”. With all the accoutrements of country music, the New York outfit breaks our hearts bar-by-bar, line by line in this song. Are we in church or merely the church of the flesh? Where does one draw the line?
Pittelman says, “I always knew I wanted to make a video for this song and that it would be about a group of witchy muses who save my soul by conjuring me a band—which is not that far from the truth of my life! All the people in this video are my real-life witchy muses and old friends who have certainly saved my soul more than once. We had the best time making this together, even though it was about 100 degrees in that house when we were shooting!”
But if you’re thinking this all came from a honky-tonk floor, you may be wrong.
The titular character of the outfit adds, “This is also the song that made me realize I was going to have to recruit a string band for this album, which was something I’d never done before. I’d always stuck with electric country-rock instrumentations centered around pedal steel. But I kept telling everyone that this song needed to sound like PJ Harvey went to a devil’s hootenanny, and eventually I realized that nothing but a string band would do. Once I finally brought together the amazing musicians who played on this track, I knew I was getting close. But it still didn’t sound like the desperate, witchy soul wail I wanted it to be. So in the studio, I made everyone listen to PJ Harvey’s ‘Pig Will Not’, which might be one of the purest, most furious, witchiest wails in Harvey’s catalog, which I figure is saying something. And as you can hopefully hear on the recording, my string band knew exactly what I meant.”
Karen & the Sorrows issue their latest release, Guaranteed Broken Heart 18 October.