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Song of the Week: Juniper Tree by Katie-Lou McCabe

“This is the only song I have written where I have pretty much just lifted a story from somewhere else. It's also from three perspectives, that of the mother, the child and me.” Katie-Lou McCabe’s haunting Juniper Tree is my wintry song of the week: as the nights get noticeably longer and the jumpers thicker, it’s one of those tracks to nuzzle down.

Accompanied below by the luscious visuals of AYLY contributor Sam Boullier, the song is a perfect case of beautiful pain, as, Katie-Lou tells us, is the story which initially inspired it. "Juniper Tree was inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale. The story addresses the darkness that exists within human beings, and the way in which beauty can grow from our sadness and pain. The fairytale also demonstrates how easily we can fall into listening to the evil one, our ego, and what tragic darkness they can create within us.”

With minimal production, the song was recorded in one live take and the guitar is painted in shades of reverb as deep and dark as a winter’s evening. The simultaneous urgency and fragility of the vocals are never clearer than in the repeated phrase “I hope I don’t die with joy / the day my boy arrives”.

“It's very different to my other music,” Katie-Lou adds, “My last EP was really heavily produced but my next is going to be like Juniper - Organic live takes, just me, my guitar and the river Ouse.”

Every Wednesday, one of our young contributors picks a piece of music that has meant something to them in the past seven days. Get in touch if you have a track to tell us about!

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