The brilliant Gena Rose Bruce has followed up September’s single ‘Foolishly in Love’ with another Bill Callahan (SMOG) collaboration, the beautiful track ‘Deep Is The Way’. This time Callahan not only throws in with songwriting, but he contributes vocals as well. This single is the title track to Bruce’s newly announced album, scheduled for release on 27 January 2023 through Remote Control Records and Dot Dash Recordings.
On the collaboration with Callahan, Bruce says:
Working with Bill was very poetic and brought a feeling of nostalgia. We have only ever had written correspondence, sending lyrics back and forth to each other, with sometimes weeks in between responses, just analysing lyrics, there was no small talk, just keeping it about what’s important – the music.
‘Deep Is The Way’ is profoundly moving and stately – delivered as a yearning ballad with Bruce’s gorgeous, melancholy vocals dipping in and around Callahan’s more gravelled and grounded contribution. There is no doubting Bruce’s connections to the sounds of Mazzy Star and PJ Harvey, all with a Lynchian twist. Added to this is a strong antipodean flavour, drenched in the languid sunshine and bright blue skies with a hint of darkness lurking deep inside.
The instrumentation is sparse and evocative – gently unfolding and undulating beneath the vocals.
Bruce says of the track:
I think it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to find your place or ‘your thing’ in life. This song really is a dedication for those people who may be slower in finding themselves, who like to dream, think deeply and take their time to make decisions, for them to appreciate and honour their thoughtful process. Not everyone has to keep up with this unachievably fast and competitive world.
Bruce’s songwriting and delivery is soaked in a sensuous frame, achingly beautiful vignettes that are delicate yet powerful and filled with a profound sense of longing and regret.
The song is accompanied by a luscious video, directed by Alex Badham, a student of the legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog. The short film was shot during the pandemic in Europe and Australia and features empty, lonely spaces, but as it progresses, it pans out to wider landscapes offering a feeling of comfort and hope. On this feeling, Badham says:
I totally fell in love with this song, having had some clichéd romantic moments listening to it whilst wandering the rainy streets of Berlin. I wanted to incorporate some of the seedy city vibe in the video. I had lots of travel going on and Gena had the idea of utilising this opportunity to make a slow and dreamy collection of empty spaces. I was lucky enough to visit some interesting and varied places over this period, Tenerife particularly has some amazing spots in such a tiny land mass – lush forests, black beaches and volcanic moonscapes. I also went into quite a few Berlin bars, asking on the spot if I could get a shot (with my camera) and a shot (of booze) and accidentally got a little shitfaced at times, oops. I’m pleasantly surprised by how emotionally moving it turned out, given how simple it is – a fairly straightforward concept about escaping the city and exploring the world outside.
This is as majestic and thrilling as the track itself:
Born in lockdown, the album grew into fruition alongside Bruce’s interest in the earthly pleasures of gardening, which in turn influenced the title of the album. She says:
Sometimes you don’t know why plants die, it can be so many things. Gardening just feels like going back to simple things. Working with your hands, in dirt and mud, is just a really beautiful feeling.
‘Deep Is The Way’ is out on 27 January 2023 and you can pre-order in a variety of formats through the link below:
Feature Photograph: Maximum Person