Annie Bacon, Twig & Leaf, Harlot
Stanleys Pub, 323 Stanley Ave, Cincinnati, OH
$5, 8pm show
Annie Bacon & her OSHEN have made a career slinging emotion, empathy and vulnerability in their sweet brand of folk-rock. On their newest single, the title track to the forthcoming LP Nothing stays the same, the band leans into the darkness of depression, wallows for a moment in the battle of the wills (to live or die), and then leaps into an earnest sermon of tenderness and patience. It’s a song that is meant to do work in the world.
Written for a friend experiencing depression for the first time in the midst of her cancer journey, “Nothing stays the same” was originally called “How to survive depression” as an insanely simplified step by step guide. “You can’t just tell someone to stop being depressed,” says Annie, “and you often don’t even notice you’re in it right away. So the first step is just to notice that you’re there.” However, she insists, no matter how hard any moment is, it’s going to change; nothing stays the same, after all, so you’ve just got to hold on and get through it.
Three main images make up the song’s video: Annie singing (in three different stages of dress), Annie walking (through many landscapes and weather patterns) and the ocean. Most of the footage was shot by Annie herself over the course of a year, but it wasn’t until she saw frequent collaborator Karla Gallardo’s gorgeous time lapse images of the Pacific Ocean on Instagram that all the pieces fit together. The ocean from the beach looks wild, from a cliff looks patterned and from an airplane looks rigid and unmoving. Similarly a person might look well put together but be falling apart inside. Annie sent all the footage to Karla who aptly found the threads between them and wove a powerful visual story.
The song was originally premiered live at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, where choral director Jaie Tiefenbrunn arranged backing vocals for the 30-person choir (see here), so it was only natural to return to Nashville for official tracking. Collaborating with producer/engineer/bassist Paul Defiglia (Avett Brothers, Langhorn Slim) at his Sensitive Sound studio, the OSHEN became: Jon Radford (Lily Hiatt, Justin Townes Earl) on drums, Thomas Bryan Eaton (Miss Tess) on lead guitar and Kira Hooks on backing vocals.
Annie Bacon’s work has been lauded by Folk Radio UK, No Depression, Earmilk, and more. In 2016-17 she appeared in a small part of Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music in New York and San Francisco. In addition to her work as a musician, Bacon also works as a music journalist, contributing to KQED, The Bay Bridged, She Shreds and others.