With her love of classic country music shining through, Dawn Landes is sharing a sad but satisfying new song called “Cry No More.” With her friend Norah Jones on piano and harmony, the lovely track is a highlight of Landes’ next album, Bluebird, arriving Feb. 18.
This is Landes’ first collection since her 2012 divorce from songwriter Josh Ritter, so the project certainly does have its moments where the pain and wounded pride are evident. But on “Cry No More,” the listener may sense that she’s picking up the pieces and getting on with her life.
Raised in Louisville, Ky., Landes studied psychology and literature at New York University before she embarked on a career in studio engineering and recording. With a decade of experience behind her, the current Brooklyn resident teamed with producer Thomas Bartlett for Bluebird. She graciously answered a few questions by email about the new recording.
CMT Edge: I think “Cry No More” is a vulnerable, heartfelt song with an element of determination, as well. What was going through your mind when you wrote it?
Landes: The song started with the first image, trying to rinse grease off your fingers. I didn’t know what I wanted to say with it, but it was a strong image for me, and as I kept writing the song, I realized it was a metaphor for my failed relationship. Trying to wash your hands of a love isn’t easy.
The harmony lends a comforting vibe to the recording, like a friend who’s there with you. What did you hope to bring out in the song by having Norah Jones sing and play on it?
Norah is such a gifted musician, I just wanted her to respond to the song in her own way. I remember being in the studio as she sang her harmonies and feeling so excited about the choices she made. There is something comforting about her singing in this.
Listening to this song, I would imagine you have a true respect for classic country music. Does that style of music influence the way you write or sing?
I love classic country music. Some of my favorite singers in the world are Skeeter Davis, Loretta Lynn, Dolly, Emmylou … and nobody cuts to the heart like Willie Nelson. I’d be honored if that influence showed through a little in my own music. In fact, I think I even wrote this song pickin’ a Merle Haggard pattern that a friend taught me.
Enjoy the CMT Edge premiere of Dawn Landes’ “Cry No More.”