Song of the Day: Calexico – Voices in the Field


photo by: Jairo Zavala Ruiz

By Beverly Bryan

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Voices in the Field” by Calexico, from the forthcoming album The Thread That Keeps Us, which will be released by Anti Records on January 26.

Calexico – Voices in the Field (MP3)

Whether they’re experimenting with cumbia or mining Americana for gold, Calexico is at their best when mournful and romantic, haunting their rootsy musical inspirations like wandering ghosts. On their newest single, the swirling “Voices in the Field,” off their forthcoming 10th studio album The Thread That Keeps Us, they’re in their full desolate glory. The song finds the duo of Joey Burns and John Convertino dipping into psych-blues and, not for the first time, singing about these troubled times in a timeless, well-seasoned voice.

“Voices in the Field,” deals poetically (and affectingly) with displacement and separation. When Burns intones, “Running thru fields of flowers and smoke/Leaving behind all that we’ve built,” he could be telling the story of an immigrant, a refugee, or anyone who finds themselves compelled to wander far from home. In an equally poetic statement about the song, Burns said, “In the age of the extremes, when walls attempt stifling words, this song is inspired by the poems on postcards from those uprooted by war and oppression. It’s a song to remind us to open up our hearts and hear other voices sing their stories.” The postcard theme continues with the song’s official lyric video.

Along with the other two album singles, “End of The World with You” and “Under the Wheels,” “Voices in the Field” promises Calexico’s new album will reveal a noisier, more turbulent band. Burns has said that the album’s sound has a lot to do with “where we’re at right now as a planet,” which is to say chaotic, but not without a thread of melody to follow.

Calexico don’t have any local dates (or even any American dates) planned at the moment, but you can follow them on their Facebook for more updates. Below, revisit their KEXP in-studio performance from 2015.

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