Esme Patterson, known to many fans as Paper Bird’s frontwoman, has built her forthcoming solo album around a surprisingly overlooked aspect of popular music: songs’ female subjects. Woman To Woman, out later this spring, centers around giving the women in popular songs a voice beyond the picture painted by the original narrator: she takes Eleanor Rigby, Jolene and others and imagines another side of the story.
“I was sitting in a hotel room in Spearfish, South Dakota learning to play a Townes Van Zandt tune called ‘Loretta,’” said Patterson. “As I was singing the words, I got angrier, thinking how one-sided and subjective a lot of ‘love songs’ are, and how a lot of women immortalized in songs might tell a different side of the story if anyone ever asked. They are archetypes from famous songs, frozen forever in black and white, and I have tried my best to add some color and give them humanity.”
Listen to “Tumbleweed,” Patterson’s response to “Loretta,” in the player below. Woman To Woman is set for release on April 15.