Two years after capturing the ears of taste makers across the country with her haunting 2018 LP Fog Area, Anne Malin returns with a new album, Waiting Song.
American Songwriter is honored to premiere the album’s ghostly title cut, which Malin and her longtime partner, multi-instrumentalist William Johnson, recorded on a bunch of vintage studio gear and equipment in Nashville following their relocation to Music City USA from South Bend, Indiana.
“We recorded ‘Waiting Song’ in our home studio,” Malin tells American Songwriter. “The process was so energizing that we ended up creating a whole record called Waiting Song, drawing from those original sounds and lyrics. When we recorded Waiting Song, I used a Royer R-10 mic and a Danelectro U1 from around probably 1961. We played Will’s grandmother’s piano and an organ we got for free off of Craigslist. The piano and organ were very important in setting the right scene for ‘Waiting Song’—we were riffing off of old hymns and family songs passed through generations.”
The song benefits from Johnson’s robust implementation of the instruments the couple has on hand at home, allowing the influences of such heroes as Mahalia Jackson, Elvis Presley, Tom Waits and Marianne Faithfull to add color to their Americana Gothic template.
“When we first wrapped up this record, we shared it with our musical friend, Lou Turner,” Malin explains. “She commented on the spaciousness between each guitar note in ‘Waiting Song.’ I was humbled that she was able to name something I wasn’t completely aware of. Now, that space feels sacred, vital.”
In a time when our country has been turned upside down by an unprecedented pandemic and American tribalism running rampant on our city streets, Malin wants to make a song about the calm before the storm, as she’s done so brilliantly on “Waiting Song”
“In many ways, this pandemic feels like a force that’s been a long time coming,” she tells American Songwriter. “We’re ruining our planet and abusing so many people in the name of ‘comfort’ or some false sense of security. Of course, it’s absolutely devastating—particularly the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on lower income communities and people of color—so we need to see this as a time of reckoning. We need to learn from this. This song emphasizes stillness and deliberate thought.”