Tracker Pixel for Entry

Esme Patterson creating Herstory

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | June 28th, 2017

Jolene, Allison, and Eleanor Rigby are all very different characters made famous by pop songs, but have you ever wondered how they felt about their situations?

Singer-songwriter Esme Patterson’s latest concept album “Woman to Woman” sings their stories from their perspectives.

We had the opportunity to speak with Patterson via phone interview. We caught her in San Francisco working on a new collaboration. Unfortunately, all she could tell us was it was for a movie score. Fortunately for us, she was eager to tell us about her record “Woman to Woman.”

High Plains Reader: Can you tell us how you developed the concept for your album Woman to Woman?

Esme Patterson: The song Tumbleweed was the first one written for that project. I was in South Dakota in a town called Spear Fish on tour with a band that I used to be in and I had my own hotel room -- which was very rare. I think that only happened twice in the eight years I was in that band.

I was learning how to play the Townes van Zandt song Loretta. I wrote all the lyrics down and started studying them and thought it seemed like a one-sided perspective of a woman, and I started thinking how many songs were someone else’s perspective of a woman, whose own thoughts and perspectives you never got to hear.

In that hotel room I stopped learning Loretta and wrote Tumbleweed from Loretta’s perspective. So the whole album is all songs from the perspective of female characters from famous pop songs.

HPR: What was it like formulating your characters?

EP: It was a combination of being very freeing for me personally, because for the most part my work is very self-reflective, and it was a release. It was really fun actually, to put my energy into this character’s perspective. I was trying to make them as human as possible and part of that is a feminist objective of showing that women are also people with complex emotions -- not just some doll.

Part of it was just total fantasy and writing a little fiction about trying to show another chapter to the story, after seeing the original song I was responding to as one side of a conversation, and giving these characters a chance to respond. It was freeing for me to step into a fictional writer’s space. It was also with the aim of empowering women, and showing that there’s at least two sides to every story.

HPR: Is there a song or character that you identify with more than others?

EP: I feel like the one that I put myself into the most on that record was the song Glow, which is a response to Caroline, No, by The Beach Boys. I feel like that was the one that I was kind of in the most -- but still the art is always part truth part fiction. It’s not exactly my story at all, but that song had more of me in it than the rest.

HPR: Let’s Dance was a reaction to Lola by The Kinks. In that song, you wrote from the perspective of a trans woman.

EP: I thought it was important to include the voice of a trans woman in the voices of women. That was important to me.

HPR: What kind of feedback have you gotten from Woman to Woman? Some people keep certain songs close to heart -- but I suppose in the end it’s all open to interpretation!

EP: Exactly! (laughs) Yeah, the response that it elicited was exactly what I was going for. I wanted to open a conversation about these ideas and in a conversation there is no right or wrong -- it’s like let’s open this discussion. Let’s talk about archetypes and objectification of women. Let’s open these conversations. The response was varied and I thought it was really fascinating.

IF YOU GO

Esme Patterson at Winnipeg Folk Festival

Friday, July 7, 6pm

Main Stage, Birds Hill Park, Winnipeg MB

IF YOU GO

Esme Patterson

Monday, July 10, doors 5pm, show 7pm

Fargo Brewing Co, 610 University Dr N, Fargo

Advance $12, $14 day of show



Recently in:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…