Juliana Daugherty – “Player”

Charlottesville singer-songwriter Juliana Daugherty was raised by a trumpeter and a violinist, spent some time studying at a musical conservatory, and earned her MFA in poetry. But Daugherty’s upcoming album, Light, is not some staunchly academic exercise. It’s a collection of stark, intimate folk-rock tunes that accompany Daugherty’s lyrics with only a few carefully selected flourishes.

The results are magnificent, as you can hear on “Player,” the album’s opening track and lead single. Undergirded by a steady metronomic pulse that sounds like someone pounding on an acoustic guitar, fervent but understated electric chords carry along Daugherty’s haunting narration as droning melodic accents subtly bleed into the mix. I am loath to quote an artist’s official bio in a blog post, but the comparison to You Are Free-era Cat Power and Kill The Moonlight-era Spoon is on point — and why not go full RIYL and throw Sharon Van Etten, Julie Byrne, and Cross Record in the mix? There is no shortage of artists making music of this ilk today, but few are doing it so captivatingly.

As for the subject matter, Daugherty explains:

I was thinking about the experience of watching someone close to you disappear down a rabbit hole –falling deeper and deeper into some state of chaos that’s out of their control and yours. The song isn’t so much about a particular person as it is about the particular combination of feelings that I associate with this experience: the hurt of abandonment and the feeling of personal failure-failure to understand, failure to help-that contradicts that hurt, and compounds it.

Listen below.

01 “Player
02 “Baby Teeth
03 “Revelation
04 “Sweetheart
05 “Bliss
06 “Easier
07 “Light
08 “Come For Me
09 “California
10 “Wave

Light is out 6/1 on Western Vinyl. Pre-order it in physical and digital formats.

CREDIT: Tom Daly