Annie Dressner Processes Long-Term Grief In Moving New Song, “Dogwood”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

“My mother’s favorite tree was a dogwood,” Annie Dressner told American Songwriter.

For Dressner, that fact is not insignificant — this becomes obvious when listening to Dressner’s new song, “Dogwood,” which comes ahead of her new record, Coffee at the Corner Bar (due on September 4). A striking intimate and personal tune, “Dogwood” speaks to a certain sense of grief which is often difficult to articulate.

“Mom passed away nearly ten years ago,” Dressner said. “Writing songs about my grief has helped me process it as I continue to grow and it continues to change. I would have thought that 10 years in, my grieving would be over — but instead, it just evolves. My mother was my closest confidant and I wrote this song as if I was talking to her.”

With the song’s pensive and arching arrangement and Dressner’s heartfelt vocal delivery, “Dogwood” effortlessly captures the irreconcilable drag of loss. The fact that the song breathes as effortlessly as it does is a true testament to Dressner’s devotion to her craft.

“Most of the time when I sit down to write a song, I play the music and the words come out at the same time,” she said. “After that, I record what I come up with — and then I work from there. When I wrote this song, the words were about something completely different — and it was not a good song. I kept playing the guitar and melody over and over until it evoked the feeling of disbelief that my mother had been gone for such a long time and how much I still miss her, every single day. For me, songwriting is the one thing that allows for me to peel back the layers of honest emotion, which is why, perhaps, my songs are all deeply personal (for the most part).”

Dressner’s ability to fit such deeply personal sentiments into songs that are universally relatable is another testament to her talents as a songwriter. Throughout “Dogwood,” Dressner is able to paint visceral images and transport the listener to the world of the song. 

“Out of all the songs on the record, I feel that this one is the most poetic,” she said. “I tried to put a lot of imagery in lyrically and so I hope that people can try to be in the moment I am singing about; whatever that may mean for them. Even if it is not evident to the listener exactly what the song is about for me — that does not matter at all, because I think that the feeling of missing someone is so integral to being human that I hope it is relatable. Writing this song was definitely cathartic, and maybe it can be that for the listeners, too.”

Listen to “Dogwood” by Annie Dressner below:

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