Mariee Sioux’s music possesses healing qualities, and that’s no accident. The singer/songwriter and California native began exploring alternative medicinal practices in her 20s after fighting alcoholism and depression, and she emerged on the other side with a new sense of purpose. Her third album Grief In Exile, out June 7 on Night Bloom Records, is a collection of ruminations on loss, heartbreak and the benefits of a healthy relationship with grief. A new song from the album, the moving tribute to Sioux’s friend who passed away “Baby Wave,” is out today (April 15), and you can hear it first here at Paste. Listen below.
“Baby Wave” is a naturalist’s reckoning with grief. Sioux, who was raised in Nevada City, a tiny California gold mining town that sits on Nisenan territory, masterfully connects the whims of human emotion to those of the land. Her wordplay and natural imagery seem clever at first, then devastating when you remember she’s singing about a friend who’s no longer here. “An alien silence crept over the wild life / when you took yours,” she sings, softly strumming a guitar. “And the violence, ungodly violence tore through my mind when you lost yours.” She breaks into a round of “oohs” before mourning fiddles and echoey organs take you out on a wave of melancholy. Sioux wrote the song in memory of her friend:
The song “Baby Wave” was written for my dear friend Ashley Taylor, a beautiful, immensely talented soul who accompanied me singing and who tragically took her own life at 23 ten years ago now. This devastating event took place two weeks before we were about to embark on a month-long tour in Europe and though my spirit was grief-stricken I decided to still go and sing. It was such a difficult tour, I flew overseas with an empty seat next to me on the plane and at every show was reminded of her absence. She was such a shining light and I hope this song honors her.
Grief In Exile follows 2012’s Gift for the End, and you can preorder it here.
Again, you can listen to “Baby Wave” below. While you’re at it, listen to Marie Sioux’s 2012 Daytrotter Session further down.