Song of the Day: Jessica Pratt - Back, Baby

Song of the Day
04/06/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Back, Baby” by Jessica Pratt from the 2015 album On Your Own Love Again on Drag City.

Jessica Pratt - Back, Baby (MP3)

The San Francisco songwriter Jessica Pratt's delicate, mostly acoustic compositions are quietly hypnotizing, enrapturing narratives delivered by her singular, smokey-sweet voice. Pratt grew up on her mother's Gun Club and Tim Buckley records. (Pratt took a particular interest in T. Rex's Electric Warrior, and using her brother's guitar, she learned all of Marc Bolan's guitar parts on the record.) By her teens, she was recording her own songs on lo-fi recording equipment. A set of songs recorded in 2007 found its way to White Fence's Tim Presley in 2010, who set up a small label just to release them. That record, 2012's Jessica Pratt, made her a critical darling nearly overnight and led to an opening slot for Father John Misty. Her sophomore effort, On Your Own Love Again, was recorded in solitude in her new home of Los Angeles after her mother's death. "Sometimes I pray for the rain" opens "Back, Baby", one of the highlights from On Your Own Love Again, and despite its heavy symbolism, Pratt delivers it with a soft casualness. As she wanders through past memories and ponders the future ("I can't go back, baby"), Pratt's voice never raises beyond a sung whisper. Both the song and her performance undeniably carry a melancholic gravity to them, and as she ends the song on the same opening lyric, "Back, Baby" has revealed itself as a cool-eyed, bittersweet farewell that drips with compellingly understated heartbreak.

Jessica Pratt is on tour behind On Your Own Love Again through July. She's already been through Seattle, but keep up with her travels on her Facebook and Twitter, and watch her play the On Your Own Love Again track "Wrong Hand" live on KEXP last month.

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