Claire Love Wilson – Afterbirth

Planes are flying overhead

Claire Love Wilson’s piano is the exploration of a dark forest. Her voice is your guide on a journey to the edge of a cliff above the ocean under the full moon. The drums are the waves, crashing far down below you. The strings are the wind in your hair and on your skin. The brass is the blood in your veins. The music buries itself in your ears and moves through you, telling you stories of love and friendship. Some songs twinkle, some dance to deep, rolling beats. Some flow through your body, soothing your bones and tugging at your heartstrings. They’re all beautiful, they’re all uplifting.

I’ve been wandering for a long time now

Claire Love Wilson’s album Afterbirth is truly a work of art. Claire, on piano and lead vocals, is backed by a slew of talented musicians: Alec Wilson (guitar), Sarah Heewon Kim (cello), Marie Noelle Wharton (violin), Wataru Uno (djembe, cajon), Spencer Lindsey (saxophone), Salia Joseph (vocals), Paul Kitz (vocals), and Jeremy Enns (percussion, vocals, instrumentation, and programming). The album came together over a period of 5 years, inspired by Claire’s experiences with friendship, family, romance, and herself, and was recorded in Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories.

“In some ways, the music emerges as a vehicle to express clearly feelings or wisdom connected to experiences of deep intimacy,” Claire, who did First Nations Studies at UBC, told me in an e-mail. The album charts a deeper understanding of herself as a white woman/settler, as a queer woman, and her connections to her ancestors and friends.

”I am very inspired by the strength, deep compassion, and willingness to be vulnerable that many of my close friends model for me when they face challenges in their lives,” she said.

Taking musical inspiration from the likes of Billie Holliday, Feist, Joni Mitchell, and John Coltrane, this album has the right balance of sultry and sweet, sorrowful and bright. From songs like “Stay,” with its gentle piano, subtle saxophone, and cloying lyrics (“stay with me, even when we misplace our humanity”), to “A Different Tune,” an a cappella tune a la Regina Spektor about being queer (“I’ll stuff a sock in my pants and embody a man, hit on all the girls that I want to, just ’cause I can”), you wouldn’t know that this is Claire’s first album.

I Highly Encourage you to to go buy her album on Bandcamp. At $9 for the 10-track work of art, it’s definitely a steal.

Maybe you were right, I am a tree

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