Will Stratton Debuts Video For “Manzanita”

Will Stratton by Josh Goleman - Best New Bands

New York – Today Will Stratton is pleased to share the charming animated video for his track “Manzanita”. The track is taken from his recently released album Rosewood Almanac that came out in early May on Bella Union.

The heartwarming track sees Stratton reflecting on age. In his own words: “I wrote Manzanita last spring. It was the final song I wrote for this album, and it’s about watching plants bloom and take root at the same time as people grow and adapt and age, and how beautiful that can be. Sandy Gordon plays the drums, Gabriel Birnbaum plays the saxophone, Maia Friedman sings backup, and I do the rest, aside from a little swell of strings at the end.”

The video, directed by Evan M. Cohen, sees an animated character finding happiness and beauty amidst the universal cycle of human life. Cohen elaborates to Uproxx:

“Every spring, before the bugs hatch and the tree buds open their eyes, there is a moment where the colors begin to saturate and warm air rains down. Time begins to stop and the world simply exists. An overwhelming desire for meaning washes over. We’re born, we grow, reflect, exit, and repeat. When our timelines are displayed and the ending is already revealed, we begin to simply enjoy the experience. ‘Manzanita’ serves as a reminder to appreciate your story. Recognize the beauty in growing older, in gathering memories and fulfilling dreams. Love the ones around you and create happiness in dark times. Find comfort in knowing we are all subject to the same cycle and enjoy those blissful moments of meaning and understanding as they appear.”

Stratton’s arrival ends what Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde calls “a very long search”, inspired by other songwriters he’d signed, such as Holly Macve and Marissa Nadler.

Born in California, mostly raised in New Jersey and currently an upstate New Yorker, this great-grandson of a traveling preacher started songwriting and recording while at high school, before going on to study philosophy and music composition. He developed an intimate relationship with guitar after discovering Nick Drake, whose “fluid, effortlessly beautiful style,” led on to similarly cherished Britfolk icons – Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Anne Briggs and Bert Jansch. But Stratton’s studies led also to chamber music and minimalists Steve Reich and Terry Riley, which equally influenced his simultaneously complex and direct sound.

Rosewood Almanac was named after Stratton’s current pride and joy: his acoustic guitar: “The guitars I love most tend to be rosewood, they have a crystalline tone, but also a really dark heft. When Bob Dylan was obsessed with his ‘wild thin mercury sound’, that’s the sound of rosewood to me. It’s almost menacing in its precision.”

The album’s spell weaves over a contained ten songs and 34 minutes, from the extra crystalline sparkle via the addition of electric guitar and rhythm section in the opening “Light Blue”, to the pared back voice-and-rosewood effect of the closing “Ribbons”. Having listened intently to Leonard Cohen and Hank Williams, “singers who try to wring as much meaning out of every sound they’re making, in correspondence to every other sound,” Stratton has focused his singing and lyric-writing more than ever before. “Some words are political, some are imagistic, some are personal,” he vouches.

Will Stratton will play a run of shows in NYC starting at the end of June. Read our review of his London appearance here.


6/30/2017 – Baby’s All Right*

7/22/2017 – Pete’s Candy Store

7/30/2017 – Rockwood Music Hall

*With Daniel Bachman

Photo by Josh-Goleman

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