Tag Archives: music

Friday Favorite: Marie Hines

single cover

single cover

I’ve been listening to Marie Hines for years now, and what’s more, I’m proud to say that I have contributed in a small way to her success by writing bios for her past three releases. I’ve been so impressed with the young Nashville singer/songwriter’s bright, blushing melodies from the beginning, but her newest effort, a collection of love songs called The Tide and the Sea, is as bold and mercurial as I have ever seen her, and I cannot praise it enough.

The Tide and the Sea begins briskly, a crisp breeze fluttering through spring grass, playful and steady. “My Love Will Never Fail You,” the expansive, glittering single, makes confident declarations on the origins of love with lyrics like, “I don’t believe in chance. I think it’s the choice we make, and I choose you for the rest of my days,” its melody expanding into broad, undulating layers of a soaring orchestral spectrum. “In My Arms,” co-written with fellow Nashville songwriter Justin Halpin, is a richly textured, sanguine tune with a spirited rhythm. The golden, ebullient “Always Been You,” another Justin Halpin co-write, boasts the title lyric – “You be the tide; I’ll be the sea. The rise or fall brings you home to me, brings you home to me. It’s always been you, love.” – and acts as the magnetic, whimsical cornerstone of Marie’s silvery tunes.

“Forever Falling for You,” co-written with Justin Tam of Nashville folk band Humming House, is a glowing, ethereal track with lyrics warm and hopeful: “We’ll build a house someday; we’ll build a home in the meantime.” And the lilting, dramatic “Forever Mine,” co-written with Justin Halpin and featuring background vocals by Marie’s new fiancé Ben Ringel of Nashville blues band The Delta Saints, swells and diminishes in arresting, elegant strokes, closing the album with an exultant, richly resonant ballad of halcyon love, repeating the chorus: “Oh my love, my life, always you and I, steady as we rise; be forever mine.”

Listen to the new single on Spotify, and look for the love song EP, The Tide and the Sea, on 02/12/13. I highly recommend her past work as well, Worth the Fight and HeartCrash in particular, and for more info about Marie, see http://www.mariehines.com.

Discovery Thursday: Marie Hines

HeartCrash

It’s a rare talent to be able to write music that a listener hears more in his body than in his ears, but when an album like that comes along, I like to drink it in until it fills me up and sloshes around inside me a little. And so it is with Marie Hines newest EP, HeartCrash.

The young Nashville singer/songwriter has seen early critical success with her debut album, Worth the Fight, and the live follow-up, The Living Room Sessions, but despite its brevity, HeartCrash seems to carry more weight, to linger on one’s mind and in one’s heart, each song ebbing in and out like the tide.

“Hammer” trickles in lightly, beginning the album with a quiet forlornness. By the time Marie’s telltale string quartet sweeps in and takes up the instrumental bridge, the story is clear and wrenching, lyrics like “You never think your lover’s words could kill you, and you can’t foresee the blow that is your last” painting a striking, desolate picture.

The title track struts in a way that Hines has not explored in previous efforts. Written not out of love or loss of love, but out of anger, “HeartCrash” boasts an unpredictable melody reminiscent of Regina Spektor’s newer work and a feminine brazenness that recalls Sara Bareilles’ singles.

“Mending” is without doubt the biggest step forward on HeartCrash. The tune begins delicately, showcasing Marie’s velvety piano and penchant for lithe, ardent lyrics, but the beat pounds like a quickened heart and the dynamics exude a sense of urgency and fervor. An instrumental section plaits a 3/4 rhythm and a 4/4 rhythm seamlessly, building them up to a burst of rapturous, symphonic color and sound.

The golden, glowing “Perfect Kiss” is a breezy, infectious tune that acts as a divine snapshot of a couple in the throes of love, the most memorable lyric, “You would sink to the depths of the sea still breathing my name.”

And “Poison in the Well” is a yearning, lamenting tune about forgetting the past that calls forth a churning melody and desperate vocals with lyrics like, “How many times did I try to sever ties between us? How many times did I try to tell the lies to leave us, leave us, leave us be?”

I’ve been a big advocate of Marie Hines since I heard Worth the Fight a little over a year ago, but HeartCrash is converging on bolder, more seasoned territory. Give it a listen and let the current do the rest.

Watch the music video for “Perfect Kiss” here, and just try to not love her: 

And now that you’re convinced, buy the EP here on Amazon. As always, you’re welcome.

Storm Comin’

Nashville’s born a couple of pretty intense thunderstorms the past few days. I could live my life on my balcony during a storm. One of my favorite things is just to sit out there, drink tea, and listen. And most of the time, this song wanders into my head – the languid, smoldering “Storm Comin'” by The Wailin’ Jennys. It’s an original gospel blues tune sung by a 2/3 Canadian, 3/3 female folk trio. The track comes from their most recent album, Bright Morning Stars, and is seriously dirty. I highly recommend turning up the volume a little before hitting play.

 

In Flanders Fields

handwritten by the poet himself

 A few weeks ago, I read Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing. I hadn’t read anything by the well-known contemporary Canadian author before, but I did see her speak last spring at a humanities symposium my university sponsored. She was magnificent. I bought one of her books to be autographed, and while I’ve always heard great things about classics like The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake and Cat’s Eye, and even been recommended The Blind Assassin and Lady Oracle, it was the subtitle Writer on Writing that caught my eye. Negotiating with the Dead was a fascinating study on the psychology and thematic elements that occupy a writer’s thoughts and give meaning to a writer’s life, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who fits even vaguely into the category of “writer,” but that is not the end purpose of this post.

In the last chapter of the book, Atwood reprints the famous WWI poem “In Flanders Fields.” I had not thought of these few verses in quite a long time, but I’m very glad that Negotiating with the Dead brought them back into the forefront of my memory. I’ve found myself reciting – almost chanting – the few lines I know by heart several times since I read the book… McCrae’s words have stuck with me. And so I have copied them here, along with a little background on the author and the history of the poem for those unfamiliar:

Canadian poet John McCrae was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there. It created a great sensation, and was used widely as a recruiting tool, inspiring other young men to join the Army. Legend has it that he was inspired by seeing the blood-red poppies blooming in the fields where many friends had died.

In Flanders Fields
By Lt. Col. John McCrae

the poppies in Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields.

This poem was actually first known to me in high school when my chamber choir sang a haunting and beautiful musical arrangement of it by Paul A. Aitken. The composition needs no other introduction; hear a heartrending choral rendition of the piece here:

An Irish Holiday

Quite naturally, I adore March 17th. And because it is our day, I’ll share one of my favorite quotes about the Irish:

“An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep from falling off the earth.”

On a related note, I’m wearing this jacket, to avoid pinching (another stellar ModCloth purchase).

festive, right?

Don’t forget to have a Guinness, shoot some Jameson, and listen to some Dropkick Murphys, High Kings, Sinead, or Flogging Molly. (Rolling Stone created a Pub Crawl Playlist, if you need a little help. NPR Music‘s radio show “Thistle And Shamrock” is hosting an all-Irish music list today too!) Celebrate! Everyone is Irish today!