For Edie Carey, it was a car accident that shattered the veil. Carey told me that she’s used to having her guard up on cross-country tours but not so much driving around her neighborhood with her kids in the backseat. One violent impact later, that’s all changed. Many of us have had our veil incident in the last few years, be it a pandemic that invaded our country and our lungs, or the January 6th insurrection revealing to even the most apathetic just how tense our politics have become. Ironically, Carey has come to view her song “The Veil” from a place of determination. In her eyes, George Floyd’s murder has lifted the veil on racism and police brutality. Her original statement that we can’t go back anymore has changed from a negative into a call for progress. While it seems to me that many in this country are working as hard as possible to go back, I admire her optimism.
Change, vulnerability, and optimism summarize much of the album. “Hold on a little longer/holding on doesn’t mean that you can’t cry,” Carey says on the inspirational but realistic “Rise.” Tracks like “Who I Was” and “The Old Me” yearn to recapture lost magic, whether in a relationship or just in life.
“I Know This” is a pandemic era song if I’ve ever heard one, but one written from the perspective of a parent rather than that of a bored touring musician. The shift in perspective makes song devastating instead of cute. Of trying to raise her children through an era of COVID, mass shootings, and political turmoil, Carey sings: “They look to me to tell them what to do/But you can’t train for this/Blind shots in the abyss/I’m terrified but I’m supposed to be bulletproof.” Learning how to slow down may have been a universally relatable experience during the pandemic, but I can’t place in my mind any of the dozens of songs I’ve heard on the topic as easily as I can the above lyrics.
“The Cypress and the Oak” carries the strongest melody on the album and draws inspiration from a poem that describes a symbiotic relationship in nature. Carey wrote the song as a commission for a couple and changed a few details to make it more “universal” when releasing it on the album.
Above is the full episode as aired on WUSB’s Country Pocket, including both my interview with Edie and the songs we discuss, starting with the album’s title track. You can hear the show live every Monday at 11am on WUSB 90.1 FM or check the blog to watch it as a YouTube playlist. Visit http://www.WUSB.fm and http://www.ediecarey.com for more. Photo credit Tim Carey.