Windsor, ON, singer-songwriter Karen Morand releases “Down Here” today, her brand new single that we are excited to premiere at Great Dark Wonder. Written for the upcoming festive holiday season, it may seem a little early to share yuletide music in early November, but we also realize that Canadian Thanksgiving is already a distant memory and the next season is upon us (not to mention the mass migration of snowbirds spotted daily on our southbound highways through the PA mid-state right now). For Karen Morand, however, the upcoming season brings not only good tidings, but serves as a painful reminder to a deeply personal tragedy that took place in her life just one year ago; one that shifted the joys of Christmas morning to the unexpected harsh reality of Christmas mourning.
“Down Here was inspired by a singular young male, brilliant funny, smart, an old soul with a penchant for music and TV shows from the 70s,” Karen shares. “[My] world was rocked when he took his own life in November 2018. [My] heart broke over and over for the family and friends left behind.” Recorded and mixed by Mark Plantcke at Sharktank Studios in her hometown, the message of grief is conveyed immediately courtesy of some incredibly moving pedal steel from Aaron Verlhulst. Joined by a somber beat of the snare drum from Benny Santoro, both are purposely delicate at first, building intensity to keep pace with Karen’s powerful vocal delivery of pain and loss.
“It’s a bleak midwinter / Frosty wind will moan / The earth is hard as iron / My heart is a stone / Snow is falling / Snow on snow / Snow on snow, I’m asking all the reindeer / Where did my love go,” are the opening lines, painting a vivid image of Karen’s disassociation with the festive season. “The song is written from the perspective of those left in the wake of loss,” she states. “Christmas is a strange time for mourning and we are often left feeling that there isn’t room for it among all the commercial merriment.” “It’s just another Christmas / It’s just one more thing / All the earth’s asleep now / It’s waiting for the Spring / Snow is falling / Snow on snow / Snow on snow / I’m asking all the wise men / Where did my love go.”
With the deliberately paced tempo, this folk-country slow burner offers a complete contrast to the traditional joyous holiday song. A season that serves now to remind her of this haunting memory for many more years ahead, Morand articulates her grief so eloquently in the two most heartbreaking lines: “Cause I’m down here on this silent night / And you’re somewhere among the stars and tinsel satellites.” These heartfelt words and first-hand traumatic struggles with loss not only juxtapose two contrasting images of the festive season, but hopefully remind us that any overzealous celebratory spirits are not always shared by those unfortunate enough to associate Christmas with personal tragedy.