SONG PREMIERE: Big Little Lions Celebrate Simplicity of Love With Harmonic Folk Tune “Do Better”

You’ve never heard anything quite like Big Little Lions. Well, that’s not exactly true. Helen Austin and Paul Otten, who comprise this intriguing duo, occasionally echo elements of artists who came before. Helen’s vocals ring with a strength that recalls the late Dolores O’Riordan at her most passionate. Their songs might bring to mind some of the best Americana/indie writers. Maybe along the lines of The Lumineers but with sharper edges and angles. But really, Big Little Lions are unique.

On their latest album Alive and Well, out February 23rd on Far Flung it’s the harmonies that hit you first: alternately intimate and resonant, perfectly fitted yet also pulling at each other, whether in unison or blossoming as if in brilliant light. The lyrics beckon, too. Current events have roused countless artists to vent their anger or rally the disaffected. Very few have addressed the chaos of our times as honestly and personally as Big Little Lions throughout Alive and Well.

One of those songs is “Do Better,” which closes Alive and Well and today Glide is premiering the track. With the simplest of all truths (“Love is all there is”), the song captures the heavenly harmonies Austin and Otten. Acoustic guitar, piano, accordion and rhythmic hand clapping and tambourine elevate the emotional power of the song with layers of sonic texture. The message of the song is indeed simple, and that is exactly what we all need right now in these times of pain, turmoil, chaos and injustice. Love is all there is and love will prevail in the end, and Little Big Lions provide a much needed, feel-good reminder of this with “Do Better”.  

Listen to the song and read our chat with band member Helen Austin…

How did you come to write this song? What is the story behind it?

This song started with a melodic and production idea from Paul and was written around the time before the US election when the polarity was really starting to rear its head. I just kept feeling that we could do better when it came to judging people on their difficulties in life. It felt like people were being blamed for things they had no control over, like war in their country, health of their family, or color of skin. That is how “where you’re born is an accident, it’s just where you land” came about. The phrase “love is all there is” was going around in my head, and I was just wishing (and still am) that we could all just give more of that. We all struggle in our own ways so love and empathy would go along way to unity.

What is something you think you personally can try to do better? And what is something you think society or the world at large can try to do better?

I know I can try to do better at not judging people before I know their story. I attempt Twitter conversations with people who disagree with me and try to find common ground or agree to disagree. I may strongly disagree with their opinions but can also realize they are just a person trying to get by in life, like we all are. The world/society could defiantly do better at looking after each other mentally and physically. I think we need to take care of our neediest first before anything else.

What is your favorite lyric line from the song? Why do you like it?

My favorite line is “all the little things, all about the little things” because life is really all about the little things. If we can see beauty in those and stop waiting for only the big things, then it feels easier and calmer.

What do you hope listeners take away from hearing this song?

I hope people hear this song and the lyrics resonate and maybe even inspire us all to do better. The intent is not to preach, but it’s a reminder to all, including ourselves, that we need to be kinder, more empathetic, and all give ourselves a break.

Big Little Lions release Alive and Well on February 23rd. For more music and info visit biglittlelions.com.

Photo credit: Karen Pantuso

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