Intimate legacy: Jazz Medium premieres Kathryn Claire’s video ‘Bones Will Last’
Every artist is Alice in Wonderland, following her muse to the ends of the earth and, oftentimes, beyond. Portland, Ore. chamber/folk artist Kathryn Claire takes the rabbit hole one step father in her upcoming, fourth album, Bones Will Last. The singer-songwriter releases her first title cut off the March 24 album in a video premiere here on Jazz Medium.
The official music video features Claire getting out of bed in the middle of the city, getting ready for another day of busking, “clothes on the floor, head in your hands, waiting for a sign, stuck at the borderline, watch as you let them in, well, here we go again.”
Her ordinary Groundhog Day is made extraordinary as she takes a stand behind her guitar, dressed up yet dressed down, stripped bare to her voice steady and strong over inlays of a maternal yet weary undertone, amid the gently stirring tapestry of chamber/folk music.
“I sought the ‘bones’ of my creative being through the creation of this album. I wondered how I would feel if this was my last album, if this was the last musical thing I left behind. I needed to make sure that I said and expressed everything I wanted.”
The camera, almost unforgiving, shows every curve, every line, every surging force within her as she sings of the passing of time, in all its mortal coils — a theme that consumes her lately: “Raise a glass, it’s all we have. For tonight has become tomorrow. Fear the flood, the rush of blood, we’ll be gone, but our bones will last.”
“In a literal sense, the title speaks to what we leave behind after we die; the remains of our body in the end are just our bones,” Claire said. “But in a figurative sense, I wanted to consider the bones of our personality, of our creative work, of our heart: the essential things that last after everything else has died, decayed, and transformed. I like the idea that at the core, each of us [has] this essence, and as an artist, there is a core voice or aesthetic. I sought the ‘bones’ of my creative being through the creation of this album. I wondered how I would feel if this was my last album, if this was the last musical thing I left behind. I needed to make sure that I said and expressed everything I wanted.”
The rest of her album follows suit, the introspective Alice, sitting on the edge of the rabbit hole after her adventures are done, making personal sense of it all — the way we all do when the noise dies down, leaving us with nothing but the silence of our thoughts and the burnt edges of our regret.
Claire leads the listener through the “Sweet Chariot” of her internal monologue, played with exquisite taste between classical violin and folk voice — if the two worlds ever decided to meet in the middle, wearing each other’s scarves.
“When I decided to put instrumentals and lyrical songs on the album, I knew finding a cohesive sound could be problematic,” Claire explained. “That interweaving was so profound. I have played violin on many albums, and have worked as a side person with incredible performers. Each artist and genre I worked in taught me something. One of the most important gifts I learned as a side person was how to listen. When I made this album I applied that gift to myself. I wanted to capture what I heard in my head with the violin. I went deep within myself to find those melodic or lyrical lines that I kept hearing.”
Kathryn Claire augments her album with fellow Portland musicians Zak Borden on mandolin, Don Henson (piano), and Allen Hunter (upright bass). They got her gist in short order, resulting in this singular, focused sound, diffused through her wavelength. “It was empowering to work with such sensitive, talented, and supportive musicians. They were patient and excited with the whole process. Each of them brought their own style to the album, and still helped me focus on the sound I was trying to create and compose.”
Look for a review of the 10-track collection — split between instrumentals and vocals — in an upcoming Jazz Medium.
Artist quotes from a press release by In Music We Trust.