You think you’re making a clean break. Your heart has already begun filtering out all those raw emotions. Your head is clear, those memories fading and the wounds are scabbed over. But here they come, your forlorn ex, cutting you back open again. You are flooded with every crashing wave of shame, sorrow and pain. “Can’t imagine why you called last night / Resurrecting movies in my mind,” Americana singer/songwriter Mary Bragg beseeches dolefully, wallowing in the muck of a past relationship. “It’s been so long since I moved on / I know that I’ve moved on.”
She is embroiled in a jungle of resentment, too. “We’ve all been there ⎯⎯ trying to move on and really call a relationship over, when one person decides to blow all the progress you’ve made and pick up the phone,” Bragg tells B-Sides & Badlands. “This song was written out of anger when a close friend’s ex wouldn’t stop calling her, then finally he stopped, and then months later called again and stirred everything back up.”
Bragg continues, “All it takes is one small thing to conjure up a whole host of memories you’ve been trying to let go of, and the last thing you want to see is that someone’s number on your caller-ID when you know nothing good could come from talking to them.”
In a brand new live session (below), recorded at Nashville’s Ivy Hall Studio, the performer unwraps an acoustic reading and lets the stark emotion wash over the listener. Her feather but raspy vocal is like a shot through the dark, whizzing by your eardrums and directly into your soul. “When lyrics are as conversational (however, rhetorical) as these, I think they can be best heard with stripped-down production,” she reflects about the performance, premiering exclusively today. “Something about it feels more human, with nothing coming between the voice and the ear. We kept the production on the recorded version similarly and intentionally stripped-down.”
This fall, Bragg heads out on the road with The Secret Sisters in support of her latest studio record, Lucky Strike (out now). She is then set to return to the studio.
Photo credit: Alex Berger