There is comfort and solace in knowing your neighborhood by heart, from the daily exchange with the clerk at the corner market, to being able to name every restaurant on any block, to gaze up at the sky over the Statue of Liberty and sense a spring storm rolling in. Vicky Emerson had discovered a sense of peace in her Manhattan neighborhood. Six years ago, she found herself moving from the Midwest where she was raised, to the electric mecca of New York City, which ironically became more familiar to her than any place she had ever lived. Peace and comfort in your surroundings is beautiful, but as life takes it course, it inevitably brings change upon us all.
Change disrupts the precious natural order of things and
that is truly what really shakes out great songs.
In December 2010, the first big change to enter Vicky’s world was the birth of her daughter. Although Vicky had to put touring on hold, she found great inspiration while taking care of her daughter who has now become her sounding board for all the songs as she sings bits and pieces of melodic ideas a cappella into her computer. “This album was written in pieces as I didn’t have the luxury of time to work out a song for hours on end. When I had an idea, my daughter and I would head to the computer where I would sing and she would either cry or giggle. Going from being on the road over 250 dates a year to being home every day was an adjustment but I am glad that I decided to take time away from performing to be with my family.”
Then, in August 2011, Vicky’s family left the Big Apple and moved to San Francisco. Establishing a new home, providing stability for her baby, making new friends, and learning the nuances of navigating a new city presented an immense challenge.
“When I arrived in New York, I was very intimidated initially but at the same time, my curiosity was peaked in such a way that my fears pushed me to explore the city and meet new people. Before I knew it, Manhattan was as familiar to me as the back of my hand, and I truly felt that New York City was my home. Our move to California was more difficult because we had an infant daughter and her needs are first, so it has taken me a lot longer to feel the sense of community that I felt in New York. It can be a lonely process trying to find your way again and again in new cities and situations but on the flip side, it can also be an opportunity for personal growth.”
The new album, Dust & Echos, was released in November 2012 and is an exquisite, sophisticated, deeply personal collection of songs spanning a chaotic two year period which allowed Vicky to discover new depths of her strength and grit. Vicky explains, “The title of the album is a testament to where I am in my life right now. No matter what happens, we are all a product of our past and the roles we come to play are influenced by our experiences.” CityPages agreed stating “Her songs thoughtfully reflect on love and loss...with graceful turns of phrase and affecting, country-tinged melodies that her lovely, hushed voice brushes with emotion.”
Fans will not be disappointed as each track encompasses the folky, Americana vibe that Emerson has become so well known for. The Sun Argus described the album as “...pure lyric mastery” and The Aquarian Weekly said “Vicky Emerson’s latest album is an effort truly worth admiring.”
After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in July, Vicky returned to the The Library studio in Minneapolis where she joined forces with producer, Matt Patrick, who produced her critically acclaimed album, Long Ride, in 2009. Praise for Long Ride spanned the globe garnering comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin. Matt Patrick explains, “As a person who produces records for a living, there are some albums that truly excite you. These are the ones you can't wait to show your family and friends. They don't come around as often as you'd like, so when they do, you cherish them in a different way. This is the scenario in working with Vicky Emerson. Dust & Echoes is a delicate journey through life. From the profound love of a new child, to the grief of a passing friend and everything in between. Vicky has substantial depth to her writing that causes a desire in me to match it equally with the production. In the end, Dust & Echoes is one of those that I am proud to show those closest to me”.
Half of the songs were penned in Manhattan and the remaining songs were written by Vicky in San Francisco. “No Glory” is an example of the enlightening, yet difficult realization we all come to when it is time to let go of the heavy burdens that others bring into our lives through anger and hurt . “Tennessee” is the coming-of-age realization that not everyone you fall in love with will return the sentiment. “Shine” is a gorgeous piano ballad dedicated to her daughter. The bridge highlights a universal feeling of all parents: “I’ll do my best to make you proud, even though there will be days when I let you down.” The talented musicians that helped record “Dust & Echoes” were Tyler Burkum (guitar/background vocals), Aaron Fabbrini (bass) and JT Bates (drums), Hans Holzen (background vocals,) Joanna James (violin/background vocals) and Matt Patrick (keyboards, acoustic guitar and background vocals.) Vicky contributed on acoustic piano and lead vocals.
Emerson grew up in a very small, rural farming community in Wisconsin and is a classically trained pianist. Vicky and her husband will welcome their second child in March and have recently moved back to their roots in the Midwest (Minneapolis) to raise their children.