Video Premiere: Carry Illinois, “Smoke and Medicine”

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
Photo by Pooneh Ghana

There are some childhood memories that stick with us forever. For Carry Illinois’ Lizzy Lehman, an incident with her brother became one such memory, one that inspired her to write the confessional tune “Smoke and Medicine.” The Austin-by-way-of-Evanston songwriter has a knack for channeling small moments into meaningful tunes, as evinced by the band’s debut album Alabaster, which counts its influences as spanning from Laurel Canyon to Smiths hometown Manchester, England.

“I simply didn’t want to hide anymore. ‘Smoke and Medicine’ reveals my imperfections, my secrets, my truths, and my need to express that, like most people, at times I need to quell my fears, anxieties, and sadness through a less than accepted vice,” Lehman tells AS. “When I was in high school, I told on my brother for smoking pot in the garage solely because I was not a fan of the kids he was hanging out with.  A few years later, I found myself hiding away, just the same, partaking in order to feel just a little bit better.  I needed to apologize for what I had done and own up to my own hypocrisy.  I needed to say that I wasn’t always the perfect child, that I did things wrong time and again, and that I needed to decompress from life.  I wanted to tell the world that I wasn’t doing anything wrong even though so many believe otherwise.  We shove legal chemical cocktails into our throats every day and still become unhinged.  It seems that the universal mentality about drugs is backwards, and I want people to know that that is truly how I feel.  Clearly, as we have seen over the past few years, the times are changing, laws are changing, and minds are changing.  People are beginning to see light and it should be discussed.

When deciding how the song should be portrayed visually, I wanted the movements to express physical and mental struggle as well as growth, change, and freedom. I wanted the video to be simple yet strong.  I wanted it to express the trials and tribulations of youth that every young person deals with on a daily basis.  Toronto based video director Sammy Rawal did an excellent job bringing my visions to life.  The video was filmed in black and white with hand colored red shadows behind Toronto based dancer Ila Kavanagh as she moved.  The red shadows emphasize the very difficult dance we go through when navigating the ups and downs of life.  It is tough to grow up and get through it all, but if we work together, support one another, and stand up tall, we will be able to breathe through it and take on another day.”

Check out the premiere of Carry Illinois’ “Smoke and Medicine” video below, and get Alabaster here.