Acclaimed singer-songwriter Emma Swift has announced the release of a new animated lyric video for the Blood on the Tracks classic, “You’re A Big Girl Now.” The song is taken from her new album, BLONDE ON THE TRACKS – a collection of the Nashville-based artist’s interpretations of Bob Dylan songs, arriving via Tiny Ghost Records this Friday, August 14.
“This animated clip was created as a loving tribute to graphic designer Milton Glaser, who died in June this year,” says Swift. “His bold and fabulous designs have inspired so many, and his iconic 1967 Dylan poster is a favorite of mine. As artists, no matter what field we’re working in, we’re always in search of what Glaser famously coined the “wow” factor. His colorful surrealistic vision was more than “wow” though, it was revolutionary. From his famous I Heart NY logo to the spectacular closing credits for the final season of Mad Men, Glaser left behind a tremendously inspiring visual legacy and I am forever a fan.
“For the project, I collaborated with Australian creative director Yvonne Moxham. She and I have been best friends for years, after bonding over a mutual appreciation for 1960s and 1970s aesthetics. The graphics were created by Moxham and her partner James Bellesini, a Sydney based designer who has created posters for Iggy Pop, the Isle of Wight Festival, The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand.”
“Back before MTV and Instagram, it was mostly in the pages of cheaply printed music magazines that you could find images of the endlessly enigmatic Bob Dylan,” says Moxham. “Sometimes scowling, sometimes grinning, always Mutable and always magnetic, these high contrast images added to the elusiveness already embodied in his albums. Mr Dylan never settles behind one mask for long. This clip is an affectionate celebration of the visual impact of Dylan’s career.”
Emma Swift has been hailed for the strength and beauty of her songcraft and a resilient yet vulnerable voice that is both heartbreaking and heartbroken all at once. BLONDE ON THE TRACKS was first begun at Nashville’s famed Magnetic Sound Studio in 2017 but only recently brought to fruition, with Swift working alongside producer Patrick Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense) via email in April and May to finesse the unfinished material and record two further songs to complete the project. Swift’s “reimagining” of Dylan’s songs bring a balancing gentleness – clear and soft where the songwriter might rasp; plaintive and emotive where he may perhaps be more sanguine. Indeed, Swift’s vocal on “I Contain Multitudes” is so immediate and clean that it’s almost as if you feel her breath in your ear. It’s striking in its intimacy, especially as heard during this time of communal isolation.
Furthermore, BLONDE ON THE TRACKS marks
another chapter in Nashville’s deep connection with Dylan, a long, proud legacy encompassing such timeless LPs as BLONDE ON BLONDE, JOHN WESLEY HARDING, and of course, NASHVILLE SKYLINE. Swift’s “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” harkens back to that distinctive sound, while other tracks call to mind Dylan’s celebrated work with The Band. Sansone’s masterful production provides the perfect light touch, supporting Swift’s vocals with instrumentation by some of the finest session players Nashville has to offer, including pedal steel guitar from Thayer Serrano, Steelism’s Jon Estes and Jon Radford (on bass and drums, respectively), and guitar by legendary British singer-songwriter – and inveterate Dylanologist – Robyn Hitchcock.
“The idea for the album came about during a long depressive phase,” says Swift, “the kind where it’s hard to get out of bed and get dressed and present to the world as a high-functioning human. I was lost on all fronts no doubt, but especially creatively.
“I’ve never been a prolific writer, but this period was especially wordless. Sad, listless and desperate, I began singing Bob Dylan songs as a way
to have something to wake up for. Interpreting other people’s emotions is how I learned to sing and I’ve always enjoyed hearing Dylan’s songs from a female perspective. You can learn a lot about melody and feeling by the way a singer chooses to interpret someone else’s song. You can learn alot about words by singing someone else’s. I’m very influenced by singers like Sandy Denny, Joan Baez, Billie Holiday, Sinead O’Connor. There’s an art to interpretation, and for me, these women are the masters. I’m as indebted to them on this record as I am to Bob Dylan.”
BLONDE ON THE TRACKS
(Tiny Ghost Records)
RELEASE DATE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 14