Chicago-based singer/songwriter Savanna Dickhut, formerly of folk-rock band Elk Walking, first released music solo as Burr Oak in summer 2019, sharing a pair of tracks that established her lyrically unsparing, instrumentally atmospheric sound. She’ll make her first full-length statement on Late Bloomer, her forthcoming debut Burr Oak album, coming in 2021. The album’s first single “Trying” arrived in October 2020 (followed by “Flower Garden” in November), and Burr Oak’s video for that track is premiering right here at Paste today (Feb. 4).
“When I began working with director [and editor] Evan Hansen this fall for ‘Trying,’ we began talking about the concept of being stuck in a Groundhog Day,” Dickhut tells Paste. ‘The same day is repeating over and over, something we think is relatable during all this time at home. To portray this loop, Evan filmed me waking up in the park in the beginning of the video and then going back to the same shot again mid-video.”
“These shots accompany the lyrics too, because in the song I sing about a rough patch I went through after a bad breakup, where I was going back to harmful habits after my ex’s hurtful phrases were playing on a loop in my head,” Dickhut continues. “At the end of the video, I place a yellow flower in the lagoon, resembling a floating water lily, which I intended as a symbol for rebirth or starting anew—as if I’m breaking out of a spell and the ‘Groundhog Day’ has finally ended.”
“Trying” does indeed find Dickhut stuck in time, as well, recalling the pain of an unrequited love, but even at her lowest, she resolves to keep moving forward: “Oh I’m just tryna figure out what’s next / And some days I can’t get out of bed / But I’ll keep trying / Until I drop dead,” she sings over warm, washed-out guitar strums, at peace with her pain and the growth it connotes. Her lyrics are frank and direct, yet maintain a near-universal relatability, a sign of a songwriter to reckon with.
Watch Burr Oak’s “Trying” video below, and stay tuned for updates on her debut album—she’ll be releasing more new music from the record later this year.