Week in Pop: ETA, Kristen Barredo, Micah E. Wood

Sjimon Gompers

San Joaquin's rising star—Kristen Barredo; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Youth in a Roman Field

Youth in a Roman Field’s Claire Wellin; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Having given the world releases from Of Grit and Grace & Suits for Children—Youth in a Roman Field’s Claire Wellin presents a listen to the recently released song cycle Storm Conductor (produced by Stewart Lerman) that continues the organic orchestral song cycles from the Chicago by NYC artists. Listen closely as Claire along with Tiffany Topol, Scott Stangland, Cassidy Stirtz, Katrina Lenk & Jamie Mohamdein deliver baroque pop song cycles that are created in the keys of life in constant motion.

Storm Conductor weathers the winds, rain, snow & sleet that we encounter with life from tales of togetherness on “Your Hand in Mine”, to tales of adversity & oppression on “Target on My Back”, civic center strings & sentiments on “Town Hall”, the meditations & reflections of “M.M.E”, to pursuits of solid foundations on “Solid Ground”. Tales from the town are told through insightful instrumentals on “City Muse”, to the melancholia of “Sixth & Crescent”, with the breaks that offer new beginnings on “The Departure”, while “Slings in the Air” flies freely through the air. Moments of glances connected & shared are felt on “I Saw You”, right before swaying to the title track, right before playing against the rules of conventions on “The Fool”, right before dimming down the stage lights for the acapella essence of “When the City Goes Quiet” that embraces opportunities of calm & peace that brings respite from the constant clamor.

Claire Wellin shared the following exclusive manifesto on the new album Storm Conductor:

If the one thing you believe to be true isn’t, what does that say about everything else?

This is the first question I set out to explore in Storm Conductor. Written over four years and across 25 cities, the process spanned a time of deep heartbreak, physical challenge, and discovery for me. Having your heart broken is always awful, but this particular pain opened my eyes to an overwhelming realization: that my belief system revolved around love, and specifically around the idea that acquiring it made you worth something.

This led me to an even more difficult question: Am I alone?

I wanted to give faith, in a general sense, a place on the page. I wanted to write songs that both challenge and support the idea of a greater meaning. I wanted to mirror the experience of feeling simultaneously manipulated and emboldened by love.

These questions led to more questions:

How does being alone affect my days—my choices both large and small?
How can I know if any given answer is the truth?
If I am alone in the world, is my life meaningless?
If I am not, is my existence justified or made worthy?

I may never have all the answers, but in writing this record I found a humanity in at least asking the questions.

Beyond that, I wrote the music I wanted to hear. Melodies, words, and arrangements rolled around in my head as I grappled with anxiety, depression, self-loathing, anger, attachment, grief, and acceptance – all in tandem with what I could only describe as magical events and experiences that had me considering my spiritual condition.

In reflection, I recognize that while the larger questions remain, I’ve let go of much of this particular pain through time and perspective. I feel gentleness, understanding, and forgiveness towards myself—a kind of warmth and sense of humor. As a friend once said, Nothing is ever 100% good or 100% bad. What it comes back to is that we’re only human, and it’s natural that we would want to investigate what it all means—and if it even means anything. And so, I embrace that investigation and hope to make space for others to do the same.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy.
—Claire Wellin

Catch Youth in a Roman Field on the following tour dates:

May
01 Seattle, WA Tim’s Tavern
03 Bismarck, ND Laughing Sun Brewery
05 Minneapolis, MN Music @ The Upside Down House Series
07 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
08 Fairville, IA Cafe Paradiso
10 Lacrosse, WI The Root Note
13 Milwaukee, WI The Jazz Estate
15 Chicago, IL Martyr’s
17 South Bend, IN House Concert @ The Bramble
18 Lansing, MI House Concert

June
25 New York, NY Mercury Lounge

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