Bess Atwell’s ‘The Weeping’ Is A Potent Salute To Her Sister

Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner...

Bess Atwell has shared her moving new single ‘The Weeping’.

The songwriter’s powerful ‘Already, Always’ album won acclaim, leading to some high profile live shows. Supporting Ed Sheeran at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Bess has also been in the studio, focussing on some fresh ideas.

Out now, ‘The Weeping’ was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, and it’s one of her most honest, profound, and moving songs to date. Lyrically, she’s talking about her childhood – Bess Atwell grew up alongside a sister with severe autism, and the track looks at those memories from a fresh angle.

She sings: “I saw us as two halves, but two halves of a whole…”

A coiled piece of indie folk, the spartan arrangement framed Bess Atwell’s lyric perfectly. Discussing the song, she explains…

I knew ‘The Weeping’ was in me, I just wasn’t sure when it would decide to come out. I only knew I was writing it when I got to the second verse and realised I finally had a vantage point. My younger sister is autistic, the kind of non-verbal autism that requires 24/7 care, and this track is mostly about what it was like to grow up with her.

The Weeping’ explores the parallels between me and my sister which is more interesting when you consider that I wrote it before I found out that I’m also autistic, this year – albeit, in a far less debilitating, disabling way.

When we were children, my sister had a toy fish tank that would light up and play music when you hit the button. I used to fall asleep next door to the sound of her replaying the toy’s melancholic piano lullaby. At just seven years old I had some understanding of the loneliness and confusion that came with being unable to communicate effectively, and stuck in your own strange world. I felt, viscerally, the attempts to self soothe with every hit of the button as the song began to play again…

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Davey Pentecost

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