Review: Stephanie Ratcliff, “Land in Unknown Places”

Stephanie Ratcliff - Land in Unknown Places

For her third album, Vancouver singer-songwriter Stephanie Ratcliff decided to focus on connections – “specifically about the kinds of connections we have with each other, and how deep, powerful, and life-changing those connections can be,” says Stephanie.  With “Land in Unknown Places,” her new three-song EP, Stephanie does just that.  She uses the metaphor of connection to sing not only about presence but about absence – both conditions in which we as humans feel connection most acutely.

“Supplication,” the opening track, offers an anthemic beginning to the project with musings that seem especially appropriate in our current day and age.  She juxtaposes the frustration that so many of us feel in what seems like a never-ending news cycle, full of negativity, ‘smoking guns,’ and ‘promises breaking.’  But, she sings, there remains the hope of landing in “unknown places and (being) set free.”

Of the three songs, I’ve especially enjoyed “Rail and Track,” a gentle, lulling reflection on how connection remains even when the other is absent – whether just away, or gone forever.  (This is particularly poignant today, on what would have been my parents’ 63rd wedding anniversary… now a day to recall both connection and absence.)

The album closes with “Come Alive,” an uplifting ode that utilizes the metaphors of planting, sowing, and burying to explore how our lives can grow and come to life with patient and constant care. The accompanying video (seen below) tells a simple love story: “… the story of two children who end up spending their whole lives committed to each other, loving each other, giving themselves to each other,” says Stephanie. “It ends with them as an older couple sitting on a bench, still loving each other after all the years and seasons of life. This kind of love is just such a beautiful, incredibly sacrificial, transforming way to live. We kept the video very simple in terms of storyline, but hopefully conveyed the deeper truth and reality that love – whatever shape it takes – really can last a lifetime.”

“Land in Unknown Places” was released on July 27, and Stephanie Ratcliff is embarking on a small release tour that is bringing her to eastern Canada and Ontario.  She’ll also appear in Kelowna at Breakout West and the Western Canadian Music Awards as a nominee for Spiritual Artist of the Year.

Upcoming tour dates:

Aug 12, 2018   Baba’s Lounge (w/Jenni and the Hummingbird)   Charlottetown, PEI   Details TBA

Aug 15, 2018   House Show (w/Colourful Language)   St. Stephen, NB   Details TBA

Aug 16, 2018   House Show   Perth, ON **Private Event** Please message Stephanie for details

Aug 17, 2018   Landsdowne Farmers Market (afternoon)   Landsdowne, ON

Aug 17, 2018   House Show (evening)   Ottawa, ON   **Private Event**Please message Stephanie for details

Aug 18, 2018   House Show    Barrie, ON **Private Event**Please message Stephanie for details

Aug 19, 2018   Burdock w/Rebekah Hawker)   Toronto, ON  Details

Visit Stephanie Ratcliff’s website.

Preview and buy “Land in Unknown Places.”

Exposed to the wonders of CBC and Montréal Canadiens hockey as a teenager thanks to a satellite dish in rural Kansas, I have been an unabashed lover of all things Canadian ever since. I am a lifelong collector of esoteric and varied music, a teacher of piano, an avid reader, and a stamp/coin collector. In real life, I work in the field of technology.

Come find me on Goodreads.

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