Grief is a beast. Whether it’s losing a life, a love, a dream, or anything else, the associated emotional trauma must be reckoned with on its own terms and timeline. But treading that ocean of sorrow is also an opportunity to hold onto, albeit in a bittersweet way, the buoyant joy that once was. Their depths are ever equal, joy and sorrow: The more excruciating the loss is, the more exalted the love was. It’s a perfect system, really, if only we humans could let ourselves see it that way.
With “Horses in the Sky,” a song off her upcoming album, Long Day in the Milky Way (out August 14), singer/songwriter Kris Delmhorst explores the beauty and wonder that is always present, sometimes lurking in the darkest, most-consuming of shadows, wherein you have to look that much harder and hold that much tighter to every sliver of hope that flickers into view.
“I didn’t have a personal moment of hopelessness that sparked the song, but I think it was a reaction to the darkness of the general world vibe,” she explains. “Darkness creeps up on you — on us all. Life is pain, and we have to love it anyway. It’s a commiseration, a hand on the shoulder, a plea.”
The self-produced album, which was recorded and mixed by Sam Kassirer, finds Delmhorst applying her wonderfully tender touch across 11 originals and one cover (Rickie Lee Jones’ “The Horses”). As so often is the case with Delmhorst’s songs, each one provides the listener with a tiny refuge, a place of comfort to curl inside and ride out the storms of the world, such is the soothing effect of her voice and vision. She’s exactly the balm we need in this particular moment of both individual and collective grief.