First Aid Kit: Emmylou

Bittersweet is the word the Söderberg sisters prefer to describe their music. “We like bittersweet songs, songs that affect you differently depending on how you interpret them,” says Klara, the younger of the Swedish siblings that make up First Aid Kit. “Making the melodies and lyrics head in different directions is very deliberate,” adds big sister Johanna. “A song like ‘Emmylou’ sounds cheerful, but the lyrics are the saddest thing you ever heard.”

First Aid Kit recently released a video for “Emmylou”—the second single off their new album, The Lion’s Roar (via Wichita Recordings). The video, which was directed by Maximilla Lukacs, features sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg as they wander through a rustic oasis of beautiful dust clouds, and sing to a blue-sky overhead.

Shot at Joshua Tree National Park in California, the dusty desert is the perfect landscape to accompany the song’s classical country affection. According to the Soderbergs, “Emmylou” is “a tribute to some of our favorite country musicians – Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, June Carter and Johnny Cash. It’s about the power of singing together with someone you love.”

First Aid Kit’s first US-recorded album, The Lion’s Roar, juxtaposes sadness and beauty in the best traditions of folk and country music. They even cite the Louvin Brothers’ cheerfully brutal version of the old murder ballad “Knoxville Girl” as the perfect example of the sweet and sour they adore. And this new carefully constructed collection deftly succeeds in setting references to their hometown of Stockholm and long, dark Scandinavian winters against a backdrop of country-rock swing.

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