MIRIAM CLANCY, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2021): The survivor thriving

 |   |  1 min read

MIRIAM CLANCY, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2021): The survivor thriving

The words – sung quietly over a hushed and haunting backdrop – speak about dead-end suburbs, tinny houses, boys getting young girls pregnant, and that place where “there’s always nothing to do”.

The song is ‘Ghost Town’ on Miriam Clancy’s 2009 Magnetic album and as an encapsulation of lives on New Zealand’s margins it is exceptional: “Around here we got loans, we are known by our second names. Around here we don’t own homes, but we got dope and a Valiant Charger ... Around here we don’t do much, we work hard at giving up”.

In 2019 for an AudioCulture column on “deep cuts”, Auckland singer-songwriter Greg Fleming singled out ‘Ghost Town’ as an “acoustic slice of small town noir” in which Clancy “creates a compelling intimacy with lyrics that seem almost tossed off and yet are all the more powerful for it”.

He also mentioned the subtle production by Andre Upston, and Clancy’s skill and courage as a artist who put her heart and soul on the line.

Although she has usually been private about some aspects of her life, in recent times she wrote on her Department of Hearts page of being sexually abused as a child and “when I realised no one would help me, I turned to the dark side and deep into the substances I dove – in a spiraling deathwish – my life forever changed”.

“But the fighter in me and my overwhelming love for music and singing took over, steering me headlong into the cathartic power of a song, of an immersion in sound, where the feeling of Wrongs Being Righted reigned, if only for a minute, in the place of transcendence, of elevation, in the presence of something greater than me.”

These days Miriam Clancy, her husband and four children live in Kutztown, Pennsylvania where they have bought a home (“way cheaper than anything you’d get in New Zealand”) and she has played selected gigs in nearby New York . . . 

.

To read this article in full at audioculture.co.nz go here.

Audioculture is the self-described Noisy Library of New Zealand Music and is an ever-expanding archive of stories, scenes, artists, clips and music. Elsewhere is proud to have some small association with it. Check it out here.

For Elsewhere's other contributions to audioculture start here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Absolute Elsewhere articles index

JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEWED (2005). The songwriter's songwriter

JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEWED (2005). The songwriter's songwriter

When Jimmy Webb, one of the most sophisticated and successful songwriters of his generation, speaks of making music it is like eavesdropping on genius. And that is what he is considered to be by... > Read more

THE AUCKLAND LANEWAY FESTIVAL (2015): In high anticipation for . . .

THE AUCKLAND LANEWAY FESTIVAL (2015): In high anticipation for . . .

This year's St Jerome's Laneway Festival at Auckland's Silo Park (Monday January 26, Auckland's anniversary weekend) looks to have the most consistently strong line-up of any so far. Especially... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

STEVE MARCUS. TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS (2019): Bringing jazz to the Beatles and Byrds

STEVE MARCUS. TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS (2019): Bringing jazz to the Beatles and Byrds

When saxophonist Steve Marcus died in 2005 age 66, he left behind a small but interesting legacy of albums, one of the most curious – not the least for who played on it as much for what they... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . RAY CATHODE: Electronic pioneer or just another knob twiddler?

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . RAY CATHODE: Electronic pioneer or just another knob twiddler?

In the encyclopedias of electronic music one name stands out for its absence, that of the British experimenter, producer and musician Ray Cathode who, in the very early Sixties, made two... > Read more