In the first single from her new album, Anna Atkinson takes us on a trip down memory lane. Wistful nostalgia never sounded so good, with her angelic voice and sparse, old-timey strings. It’s a quiet story, beautifully told, of being a descendant of family members who were craftspeople and creators, whether it was a pair of shoes, wood carvings, visual art, quilts or a family feast. Through the ages, they survived war, poverty and suffering. As we watch her revisit her family home, now boarded up and derelict, we see a quilt being sewn. It’s sad and hopeful at the same time, filled with sweet remembrance, admiration and a lot of love. It seems to be a celebration of humankind’s enduring spirit, to continue to create through hardship, and especially the idea of creating a vibrant and meaningful life together as a family.
“When we weave our sad stories together
Maybe we could knit a sweater
Gather silk scraps and cashmere
Morsels of blankets all tattered, in shreds
And the quilts that our mothers unfurled on our beds
When we were young”
– When We Were Young
As Atkinson explains,
“When I was a child, my mother had a subscription to ARTnews, and one edition had an article about a Canadian artist — Janet Morton — who knit a sweater for a house on Ward’s Island. I thought it was the most amazing concept and it was the initial inspiration for the song — its working title (Sweater For A House) came from that.”
Her new album is called Sky Stacked Full, and it features David Occhipinti. She wrote the songs over a 10-year span and spent five months recording at CBC Studio 211 in Toronto.