Myriam Gendron – “Long Way Home”

Myriam Gendron – “Long Way Home”

Montréal folk singer-songwriter Myriam Gendron has a way of attracting some of the biggest names in experimental indie music. Her 2021 album Ma d​é​lire – Songs of love, lost & found was promoted by veteran critic and Forced Exposure zine mastermind Byron Coley, and it featured playing by the likes of Chris Corsano and Bill Nace. The trend continues on Mayday, Gendron’s new album coming this spring via Thrill Jockey and Feeding Tube. Nace is back in the fold on one track, and the credits include Jim White, Marisa Anderson, Zoh Amba, and Cédric Dind-Lavoie.

Yet one listen to lead single “Long Way Home” and you’ll realize the main attraction is Gendron herself. Her steady, tender alto leads the way, lacing every line with understated feeling. “Oh mother, mother, make my bed/ I want to sleep for a while,” she sings on the chorus. “Outside the winds are blowin’ high/ Will you stay by my side?”

Gendron offered this statement on the song:

This was one of the first songs I wrote for the album. I wanted to write a song with verses and a chorus, which was a bit of a challenge for me, as I’m more used to ballads without a chorus. I also wanted to continue the work I’d started on Ma délire, where I’d begun to experiment with songwriting inspired by tradition. But the aim of such a process is to go beyond a mere exercise in quotations. The result has to be internally coherent and reflect emotion in a way that’s fair and true. And it has to be a pleasant song to listen to, even for those who don’t know my sources of inspiration. I feel I’ve met that challenge with “Long Way Home”, which is in a way my first pop song, thanks to the contributions of Cédric Dind-Lavoie, Jim White and Marisa Anderson. We made jokes while recording it in the studio. Jim isn’t used to playing in this style, and it made him smile a lot. He said he felt like Mick Fleetwood! This song opens the album with the idea of a symbolic shipwreck (“when my great ship went down”, a reference to the popular song “It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down” about the sinking of the Titanic) and the retreat that follows. The words of the refrain “Mother make my bed” are also very old, and are a recurring motif in traditional songs about returning home (sometimes to die).

Listen below.

01 “There Is No East Or West”
02 “Long Way Home”
03 “Terres brûlées”
04 “Dorothy’s Blues”
05 “La Luz”
06 “La belle Françoise (pour Sylvie)”
07 “Lully Lullay”
08 “Look Down That Lonesome Road”
09 “Quand j’étais jeune et belle”
10 “Berceuse”

Mayday is out 5/10 on Thrill Jockey/Feeding Tube. Pre-order it here.

Justine Latour

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