Josienne Clarke today shares ‘Slender, Sad & Sentimental’ and its striking video, from her forthcoming debut solo album In All Weather which is released on Rough Trade Records on November 8th.
Josienne explains some of the thinking behind the song, “The songs I write generally seem to be both simultaneously too simple and too complicated to ever translate to a broad audience. A quintessential radio single contains a catchy upbeat repeated chorus that my songs don’t tend to have. So, I approached this song with the weight of my own maudlin inaccessibility in mind. I was writing about writing a catchy single in the style of a catchy single. I’ve possibly hit peak self-reference!”
Take a listen below…
The album In All Weather is a new collection of songs by writer, singer and musician Josienne Clarke, it’s an record with which she goes it alone; both musically, as this is her first solo record, and in her own life, laid bare and played out in the leave-it-all-behind-and-start-anew nature of the lyrics.
“Learning to sail in all weather, the line from which the album title comes, is what we are all trying to do,” Josienne explains. “To right ourselves when things feel turbulent and uncertain. How to correct your course and stay true to the things you believe and need and let all the rest go.”
Fans of Josienne Clarke’s previous melancholic chamber folk duo will recognise her uniquely sorrowful and jewel-like vocal style. But these new songs were sung and played by Josienne in the manner they’ve always been written; emotionally raw, immediate and unvarnished. Gone are the duo’s grandiose arrangements; Josienne accompanies herself on pared-back acoustic and electric guitar throughout. She’s joined on the record by experimental piano prodigy Elliott Galvin, innovative jazz drummer Dave Hamblett, celebrated Scottish harpist Mary Ann Kennedy and guitarist/bassist Sonny Johns (best known for his work with Fatoumata Diawara & Polar Bear) who co-produced the record with Josienne at Watercolour Studios in Fort William, Scotland. The songs required little embellishment, they just needed to be heard as clearly as possible.
“These are not love songs, these are life songs; life lines to save me from sinking. Each one a hard-won lesson in how not to do things next time. It’s a manifesto of how to leave and how to change.”
It’s a record that not only addresses every aspect of that personal, professional and geographical leaving and changing, it’s also a record that wouldn’t exist if she hadn’t made these giant steps.
“I exiled myself, moved to an island, metaphorically and literally; broke up with everything but songwriting, to re-make myself and learn to let it all go in peace.”
With In All Weather a lot has changed. But Josienne Clarke remains one of the most impressive, accomplished and downright heart-breaking singers, lyricists and composers we’ve got.