Will It Ever Be the Same
There’s nothing like a near-death experience to get those creative juices flowing. Back in May, after months of solo quarantining on Moosehead Lake, singer/songwriter Anni Clark was standing at the end of a dock, crying and feeling overwhelmed by it all. Then Clark lost her balance and fell into the icy water, severely damaging her leg. When she pulled herself back up, she was physically injured but artistically determined. “Some people say that absence makes the heart grow fonder / Can the love we know survive this thing much longer?” she croons in her rich tenor on the title track of her eighth album, her first studio LP since 2002. The alienating effects of the pandemic are a theme, but Clark wraps them in expressions of love and wistful nostalgia, connecting the personal with the political, as the best folk songs do. “I know I wanna get you close to me again / Because I don’t remember when we last locked eyes,” she admits on “Close to You,” a bittersweet sentiment that cuts all the deeper in 2020. But it’s not all sad strumming here – the cheeky come-ons of “Experimatin’” show Clark hasn’t lost her sense of humor (and love of gerunds). “Between the Rungs” is about the joy of being in the present, with a wickedly catchy full-band arrangement to match. And the piano ballad “I’m With You Greta” is an earnest, straightforward ode to our planet’s brave canary in the coal mine, Greta Thunberg.