Mountain Man’s Alexandra Sauser-Monnig released Dawnbreaker, her debut album as Daughter Of Swords, last year. She also appeared in our mini-documentary about Hopscotch Music Festival. And near the end of the year she opened up some shows for none other than Chicago classic-rock experimentalists Wilco, whose “You And I” Mountain Man covered last year as well.
Today the Wilco connection continues for Sauser-Monnig. She’s got a new Daughter Of Swords single out titled “Prairie Winter Wasteland,” produced by Jeff Tweedy at the Wilco Loft in Chicago. Tweedy plays multiple instruments on the track, while drums and bass are respectively handled by his son Spencer and Nick Macri, the rhythm section behind the new James Elkington album.
In a press release, Sauser-Monnig notes, “The breadth of instruments and knowledge and kindness that live there made it a super inspiring place to create something new, and it started with the main loop. We made it out of a hammer dulcimer, a guitarette and a magical ancient instrument called a celestaphone. Working with those unfamiliar sonic textures made recording the song feel as much like painting as it did music making, and also maybe a little bit like breaking into frozen crystal ice caverns and pushing through dense conifer forests into a sudden quiet clearings.”
As for the subject matter, the new song “is a reflection on the way our emotional experiences of place are shaped in powerful and mystical ways by the people we’ve know there,” she says. “The way a certain quality of sunlight, or the call of a particular bird can conjure such specific associations, and can break your heart or lift you up. In the midst of sweltering North Carolina summer, I took a mental journey through the stark, abstract beauty of Minnesotan winter, and wrote this song that feels very much about the ways my grandmother who passed away several years ago is still present for me in the frozen blue sky and the dark bare branches of oaks and the snow blowing across frozen lakes of the upper Midwest.”
02/08 Richmond, VA @ The Camel
02/09 Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern
02/10 Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
02/11 Allston, MA @ Great Scott
02/13 Washington, DC @ DC9 Nightclub
02/14 Durham, NC @ Pinhook
02/15 Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
02/16 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
“Prairie Winter Wasteland” is out now on Nonesuch. Purchase it here.