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Exclusive: Hale’s High Noon – Marley’s ‘Dear Girl’ Faces Off With Self

jtpao 06/28/2024


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Folk N Rock
Exclusive: Hale’s High Noon – Marley’s ‘Dear Girl’ Faces Off With Self

Beatrice Gorsuch

Today, NYC-based country/folk rock songstress Marley Hale drops her latest single, “Dear Girl,” complete with a moody music video. This track is also the final teaser before Hale’s debut EP, “By My Own Ways”, hits on July 26th.

She also spoke to us a bit about the video by saying:

When I went down to Virginia to shoot the music video, I didn’t expect it to feel as much as I did. “Dear Girl” has been in my repertoire for over a year now, so it’s easy to forget at times what I felt when I initially wrote it. I was out in the desert in California, getting sober and wanting to change the path I was on. Filming the music video took me right back to that time, and I felt all the shame and desperation that I felt when I first wrote it. I’m so proud to be sharing something so personal, but at the same time it’s a little terrifying.

Hale penned “Dear Girl” during a desert stint in California, describing it as a face-off with her inner self. It’s all about that tricky space between who you are and who you’re itching to be. Sometimes, that gap feels wider than the Grand Canyon. Musically, Hale’s tipping her hat here to the legendary Ennio Morricone, serving up some serious spaghetti western vibes. And the video’s got a dash of ‘Fleabag’ inspiration.

The moment the song starts, these horns hit you and yes, you do get taken right into Ennio Morricone territory. It puts you right into those spine-tingling nights on a dusty frontier or a sun-baked desert. What’s so cool about his style, which you can definitely hear in this song obviously, is how it blends this sort of operatic grandness with a gritty edge.

And without even seeing the video, which we will get into here in a moment, just in my mind’s eye it unfolds like a movie. And it makes you think of all of those scenes of untamed wilderness. And when I say untamed wilderness, that does refer to those spaghetti westerns that take place in the 1800s, but also that of the nightclubs in 2024.  This mix of grand and folkish gritty pulls you right into that.

Building on that unique sound, the track then hits with the introduction of a measured, unhurried percussion, and a bit of light acoustic work. This part conjures up an atmosphere that reminds me of being holed up in a saloon during the wee hours of the night. The addition of the tremolo effect amplifies this sensation, infusing the music with an even stronger feeling of isolation and solitude.

The interplay between these elements gives an immersive atmosphere. I can almost picture myself seated at a worn wooden bar, nursing a drink as the night stretches on endlessly. The slow, steady rhythm mimics the ticking of a clock in an empty room, while the acoustic guitar strums paint a picture of a lone musician playing to a nearly vacant house. The tremolo’s wavering notes seem to mirror the flickering of oil lamps, casting long shadows across dusty floorboards.

The arrangement here does such a great job as it constructs the entire mood and setting. It’s as if the song is telling us story without words, in which you can fill in the details with your imagination. But speaking of the lyrics, this track really shines in how it seems to be a heart-to-heart with oneself, yet cleverly disguised as advice from an outside observer. It’s like she has split into two – one part living the moment, the other trying to talk some sense into herself.

The way it’s crafted, it feels like you’re eavesdropping on her internal dialogue. On one hand, there’s the part of her that’s out there, maybe feeling a bit lost and searching for something. On the other, there’s this wiser, more cautious voice trying to rein things in. It’s a neat trick, using this third-person angle to deliver what’s essentially a first-person narrative.

And for me, I see it akin to a ghostly barkeep who has seen it all. Instead of pouring out libations, this spectral figure doles out hard truths and pearls of wisdom. The song makes you feel like she’s out in the wee hours, her motivations are left open to interpretation – perhaps she’s chasing a momentary escape from life’s pressures, looking for a connection, or on the hunt for romance. But, in a bit of a self-destructive way.

The old soul who’s witnessed countless similar scenes, and a lost soul searching for something elusive. The phantom bartender’s voice (her own in this case) carries a mix of concern and world-weariness, as if they’ve watched this story unfold time and time again. And from what I’m gathering, it’s like as if Ennio did the scoring for Fight Club. She’s looking in the mirror and finally seeing clearly, even if she might not be ready to listen just yet.

And like someone who can’t stay away from the bottle, she keeps coming back to the same patterns that aren’t serving her well. It’s a cool way to show how someone can be “drunk” on their own bad decisions, coming back night after night to the same spot, hoping for a different outcome.

The music video for this track, helmed by Elizabeth Culbertson, does a bang-up job of bringing the song’s imagery to life. It’s like she reached into our collective imagination and pulled out the very scenes we come up with while listening to the lyrics.  It unfolds in a series of vignettes that really drive home what the lyrics are getting at. It’s not just a literal interpretation, but rather a nuanced exploration of the themes at play.

As we watch, it gives you some visuals that captures the essence of those late-night moments of reflection and regret. The scenes shift and flow really well. And I just want to say how great it is that the visuals sync up with the mental pictures the lyrics make.

At the start, we see Marley emerging from a bar, sliding into her car, and taking off into the darkness. There’s this neat focus on Marley’s hand gripping the steering wheel, a shot that I would say speaks about control and direction. Then, in a smooth transition, we’re suddenly looking at that same hand, but now it’s wrapped around a glass at a bar. This could be her, looking back to the past.

This visual parallel is pretty slick. It’s like the director’s choice here was to say, “Hey, look at how similar these two actions are.” It’s a subtle way of showing how Marley’s choices behind the wheel of her life and her choices at the bar.

The shot of her sitting alone at the bar – possibly the same one she just left – really hits home. There’s like this feeling of isolation in that part. You can almost feel the weight of her loneliness through the screen. It’s as if the bar itself is a character, silently witnessing her repeated returns.

The color palette in this video is spot-on, really nailing the mood of the song. Those rich browns in the bar scenes give off this warm yet somehow lonely vibe, like the glow of old wood under dim lights. It’s a perfect backdrop for her solitary moments. Then we’ve got these deep navy tones during the driving shots, when the world seems to shrink down to just you and the road ahead.

Then we get to this transition of her walking through a field, which adds to the dreamlike quality of the scene. This shift in setting is pretty powerful. You’ve got this dark, brooding sky overhead, no moon in sight, which really amps up the sense of isolation. But yet, this part is kind of freeing.

You see her trudging down a dusty road, surrounded by tall grass and golden vegetation, which does come off as striking. It’s like she’s wandered into some liminal space between her real life and her inner world. The contrast between the dark sky and the golden hues of the field creates this eerie, almost surreal atmosphere.

This scene does a great job of visually representing that feeling of being lost or searching for something, which ties in nicely with the song’s themes. It’s as if Marley’s internal journey has been externalized into this lonely nighttime walk. We then cut back to her shooting some pool surrounded by guys with questionable motives and that really drive home the sense of vulnerability and risk in her situation. It’s a nice representation of the dangers lurking in her choices. Now this is all interspersed with these are moments of quiet reflection, where we see Marley lost in thought.

The video’s conclusion is super impactful I feel. The alternating shots between Marley alone at the bar and her walking through a little bit more of that brightening field creates a cool contrast. It’s like we’re seeing her past and her potential future side by side. The gradually lightening horizon toward which she’s walking is a beautiful symbol of hope and possibility.

Again, you can get a copy of the EP at this link.

And once you’ve snagged Hale’s EP in July, you’re in for a treat – she’s hitting the road for a string of live shows.  Check out the full list of tour dates below and mark your calendars.

TOUR DATES
Aug 2 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
Aug 4 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Aug 6 – Fort Collins, CO – House Show
Aug 7 – Laramie, WY – The Ruffed Up Duck Saloon
Aug 8 – Salt Lake City, UT – House Show
Aug 9 – Boise, ID – Pengilly’s Saloon
Aug 10 – Portland, OR – Kenton Club
Aug 11 – Bellingham, WA – House Show
Aug 28 – Austin, TX – Sagebrush
Aug 30 – San Marcos, TX – Tantra
Aug 31 – Center Point, TX – Central Provisions
Sep 13 – Bristol, TN – Radical Nights at the Sessions Hotel

More From Marley Hale
Instagram | Youtube | Bandcamp | Spotify

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