words by tom johnson
I’ve never been to so many of the places that appear in songs, painting pictures, instead, in my head based on the words and atmosphere and imagery projected by the artists themselves; the taste of New York’s underbelly on Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights, the aching space of the American south as detailed by Iron & Wine are two personal and pertinent examples of such a thing.
I have, however, been to the Appalachian Mountains, seen them spread for miles and miles from up on high, discovered the smaller characteristics hidden away in their dense woods – and they retain the same sense of mystical magic now as they did before. Their musical history is also well-detailed, initially taking its dues from English ballads, Scottish and Irish traditions, and African-American blues. Establishing itself in the 1920s, and taking on greater importance in the folk revival of the 60s, there’s always been a implacable magic to the music that continues to burrow out of the area; some 1500 miles of ridges and valleys, from the edge of Canada all the way to Alabama.
“I’ve been trying to tell you, time is everything,” sings Vivian Leva, with palpable weariness, on her beautiful new track, and there’s few who know it better. Raised in Lexington, Virginia, she was raised on her parents love forAppalachian music and it forms the tender but earthy roots of her own work, something exemplified in the title-track from her Time Is Everything LP, released on March 2nd, and available to stream below from today.
Feeling immediately antiquated, but with a rawness that drags it in to this tough new world, the song has a beautiful, classic weight to it; age-old country aesthetics delivered with a new voice that feels mightily compelling, the simplicity of the composition belying the evocativeness that lingers long after it’s departed. An expressive, poignant deviation from the rush of the day, you can stream “Time Is Everything” below right now. Here’s what Vivian had to say about her new track:
“Time is Everything expresses the conflict of both love and time’s uncompromising natures that will inevitably cause sleepless nights of wondering. The song travels through the subtleties of communication from afar and missed opportunities for connection: a muffled phone call from a noisy bar or a silent drive where the words one finally finds are the the wrong ones.”