Single Review: Esmé Patterson – Tumbleweed

By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 12:00 pm

Singer/songwriter Esmé Patterson has recently released her new album ‘Woman to Woman’, which explores the perspective of female characters in classic popular songs, including Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ and the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’. ‘Woman to Woman’ has already garnered radio play on BBC 6Music and attention from online publications such as The Guardian and The Quietus, as well as TGTF’s own earlier In The Post feature. The album’s next single, titled ‘Tumbleweed’, is Patterson’s take on Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’, which is the track that initially inspired the concept behind the record. Patterson explains:

“I was touring with my old band Paper Bird when we stopped in Spearfish, South Dakota and the venue had given us enough hotel rooms so that each of us could have our own. Alone time was a rare treat, and I decided to use the space to learn Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’ and was looking up the chords and the lyrics, and in the process started thinking about how one-sided it seemed. I imagined, “what would that woman, Loretta, say about him?” I gave up on learning Townes’ tune, and found my song ‘Tumbleweed’ rattling around in my heart somewhere. I finished it that night.”

‘Tumbleweed’ is a rebellious, uptempo track that imagines the fictional Loretta as defiant and strong-willed, in contrast to Van Zandt’s more objectified depiction. The song itself is sassy from its very outset, opening with a bending guitar riff and hand-clapping percussion over a heavy bass groove. Its initial lyrics attempt to capture Loretta’s true essence as Patterson cheekily intones “Well, you say you’ll be back in the spring / but I need a man like a tumbleweed / And I’ll keep my dancin’ shoes on long after you’re gone”. After a second verse retort about spending her man’s money and being treated roughly, Patterson’s Loretta gets to the heart of the matter in the bridge, asking “What about the way I want to be loved?”.


Esmé Patterson’s ‘Tumbleweed’ will be officially released on the 25th of May via Xtra Mile Recordings. Just below, you can view the video for another track from her ‘Woman to Woman’ LP, titled ‘What Do You Call a Woman?’. Released back in February, the track and its sexually provocative video comprise Patterson’s response to Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit ‘Billie Jean’.


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