The small Norweigan town of Rjukan lies deep in the narrow Vestfjord Valley. During colder months the sun is blocked by surrounding peaks, and for a hundred years residents spent half their days in shade. It was an acute form of winter blues; you can imagine their conversation and thoughts often turned toward summer.
But several years ago massive mirrors were installed on local mountain tops. For the first time a winter sun glowed in the town square, and everyone gathered to witness. I think of how Emma Russack’s music casts a similar light on the darkness we share.
Opening track Horses, carried by a minimal piano refrain, describes a tension between our impulses of control and forces of nature. Or the title track, which skilfully captures a malaise that can strike anyone at any time of year, without warning or apparent reason.
In these songs are questions around love, connection, and freedom. There’s also peace with uncertainty and time for reflection in these spacious blues, folk and rock arrangements, that radiate with all the warmth of a mirror high in the Norwegian mountains.
Winter Blues by Emma Russack is out July 5 via Spunk/Caroline.
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