At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, it looked like The Ladles were going to have to take a break for a bit.
With the three members of the indie-folk trio stuck in different corners of the country and a continuous stream of gig cancelations coming in, it seemed like the best option was going to be to wait it out and try again in 2021. Yet, thankfully for the folk music fans among us, that wasn’t the end of the story.
“Halfway through 2020—an unprecedented year for each and every one of us—we had a chance to gather in Springville, New York for a residency at the Springville Center for the Arts,” guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, Katie Martucci told American Songwriter. Once reunited, the trio was so excited by the thrill of being able to play together again—and with new material to boot—that the flow of creative inspiration was unstoppable: an impromptu record had to be made.
“We decided to record the songs that we’d written over the course of the pandemic,” Martucci remembered. “We recorded in a renovated chapel-turned-concert-hall, with the old room’s acoustics becoming the fourth member of the band (honorable mention to the bat that would occasionally grace us with its presence from somewhere up in the rafters).”
The end result of these rustic sessions is The Ladles’ new album, Springville Sessions, which is due on April 16th. On February 17, the band debuted the first single from the project: “Sunset Pink,” a gorgeous, airy tune showcasing The Ladles’ world-class musicianship and emotional sensibility.
“I write at my best when I have a clear intention set and I’m able to listen to what the song needs, getting out of my own way and letting the emotions express themselves,” Martucci explained. “I wrote ‘Sunset Pink’ to process how difficulties with mental health affect a romantic relationship. There isn’t a question of how much you love one another, there’s just a third thing in the room getting in the way of your connection, inhibiting your ability to be present with one another. It’s a song about figuring out how to name that third thing. It’s also a song about moving through anxiety, helping a loved one return to their body and their environment so that you can be present with one another. Finally, ‘Sunset Pink’ is a song of hope. It affirms the power in imagining a better future for yourself and your loved ones. It envisions a reality where those hopes are fully realized.”
Musically, Martucci’s guitar and bandmate Caroline Kuhn’s banjo propel “Sunset Pink” forward with determination as fiddlist Lucia Pontoniere ties it all together through subtle melodies and fills. Overtop, Martucci’s warm voice carries the heart of the song, expressing introspection through moving vocal lines. When all three voices come together in harmony, the sound lights up the space like a firefly in the night.
“Everyone faces difficult relationships and conversations—expressing yourself and letting the energy move through the situation will loosen the grip it has on you and allow space for the simplicity of joy,” Martucci said. “Sometimes, one of the quickest and most profound ways to get yourself out of a funk is to actively notice the beauty that is around you.”
Listen to ‘Sunset Pink’ by The Ladles below: