Tightrope walker: Singer-songwriter seeks emotional equilibriumWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A taut wire high overhead. A daring soul drawn by the danger, the thrill. That ageless art of walking a straight line is still so suspenseful, such a spectacle.
Captivated, Rachael Yamagata talks about her new song, “Tightrope Walker.”
“I love the idea of a tightrope walker and of trying to maintain balance and be amenable to the wind of change,” she said. “The physical realities of what you have to do — that graceful and powerless scenario if you’re a tightrope walker — was mirroring my life, my career.”
Sitting outside with her two cats during a call from her home in Woodstock, New York, the singer-songwriter talked about her disc she expects to release early next year.
“Lyrically, the themes are definitely centered around these internal struggles we have with ourselves through our lives, and the inner fight, these wars we fight with ourselves,” she said.
While words for the theme came easily to Yamagata, explaining the sound was more elusive.
“I’ve played with a lot of dark, depressing, beautiful, string-heavy ballads all of my career,” she said. “And I’ve had some records that have flirted with more of a rock element. This one is — I don’t even know how to describe it yet. It has things like Tom Waits banging on ladders, and metal chains and beautiful piano, and harmonies and drum loops, and French-translated letters weaving under some of the tracks. The picture soundscape is creepy, and it’s beautiful at the same time.”
Fans have loved that dichotomy since Yamagata’s 2004 debut, “Happenstance,” and are supporting her new disc on Pledge Music. As of Sept. 24, she was at 83 percent of her goal.
“I’m surprised by the number; I’m less surprised by the fans because the first time I did [the campaign for ‘Chesapeake’], that’s when I think we reached the goal in three days. That really shocked me because it had been four years since I released a record. I had gone independent. I didn’t even know if people were checking in on my website,” she said. “That was when I really did not have a sounding board for where I was at with the audience, and that really showed me that oh my God, they’re still out there. I’m really, really gifted with these loyal fans who check up on me in a way that I didn’t expect.”
Yamagata will play at 8 p.m. Oct. 7 at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Opening will be Hemming and The Dove & The Wolf.
“I think music is spiritual and it connects beyond words and it becomes a language that covers many, many layers all at once,” Yamagata said. “To me, the most powerful music that does that is something that’s honest and loyal to one’s self and one’s self-expression. And it is magic to me.”