A plucked bass note on an acoustic guitar is an underrated thing. That’s how Ricky Lewis‘ spare, haunting “Clay Baby” begins, and as the song builds, he adds slowly to that simple beginning–a strum of the guitar, a plinking bit of piano, and then, eventually, his own voice.
Lewis is a folk singer from New England, and the song, which is off Lewis’ Serious Mistress EP, sounds like it should be performed in a dusty barn in western Massachusetts.
It’s a song about breaking out of ruts. The rut of a shitty job, of being hung up on a girl, of getting stuck in bad habits.
“Break the pattern, you know” he sings, “of coming back for you.”
When the slide guitar rings out in the chorus as Lewis goes falsetto, you pause. Later, an otherworldly drone rings out in the background, making the whole thing briefly abstract and unfamiliar. There aren’t too many components to this song, but every one makes sense.
STREAM: Ricky Lewis – “Clay Baby”