Rising Bristol-based songwriter Clara Mann has returned with “Thread”, her first new music since last year’s debut EP and her first for tastemaker label 7476. The new song is born from a powerful place, as Mann descibes:
“I wrote this the night I got home after spending three months living with my boyfriend in a one room cabin on Dartmoor. The cabin was at the edge of a farm owned by a wonderful woman called Maggie, who was in her 90s- over the three months, she became incredibly important to me. She had immense spirit, an absolutely wicked sense of humour, and was an incredibly powerful presence on the farm. We’d spend hours with her in the kitchen in the evenings, cooking for her and laughing- I loved her so much.
“That night, when I got home, I got a call saying Maggie had gone into hospital, and that she might be dying. I didn’t know what to do, all I could do was try and hold onto her in my heart. I suddenly wrote Thread, and recorded it on my phone. It’s dedicated to her, but it’s about the whole of that autumn, and the grief and magic of that strange time. Maggie survived that night, and lived another year, before leaving us about a month ago. Traces of her light remain, and she touched me and many others deeply- I hope we meet again someday.”
Everything about “Thread” belies Mann’s youthful 20 years of age. The arrangement is perfectly balanced; her plaintive guitar slow-dancing with a rustic fiddle and subtle inflections of backing vocals and piano sprinkles. It sounds completely organic, but to create something this delicate and yet this poised is a true wonder of patience and precision. Then there’s the words, in which Mann shows off her poetic, vivid worldview in which she can drive home an emotional sweep with perfectly picked phrases delivered in a compellingly rising and falling timbre (“And now if you could see me / With my head under the tap / Washing away all the words that I said and can’t take back”). With “Thread” she somehow manages to both display her youthful naïveté and write in a way that is extremely mature and powerful – “Pull on the thread, you go ahead / You know how I long to be led,” she intones in the chorus. While “Thread” might have been born of a specific incident, it is generous enough in its emotional breadth to reflect back feelings from any moment of self-doubt, worry or grieving – and it does so with the utmost tenderness and compassion.