SONG PREMIERE: Kathryn Claire Captures Life on the Road With Orchestral Indie Rocker “Eastern Bound For Glory”

Singer-songwriter Kathryn Claire is home. After a decade on the road and in studios as a side person supporting countless talented artists, the Portland, Oregon-based artist returns to give herself fully to her unique brand of alt-folk.

Her forthcoming album, Eastern Bound For Glory, is inspired by her life on the road, experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of being an internationally touring musician. The masterful 10-song release signifies a homecoming to her solo career and back to her beloved city. Intriguingly, it’s an aesthetic departure from her previous work in that the record explores bold indie rock instrumentation and vibey spaghetti western atmospherics.

Kathryn has previously issued five solo albums over 20 years. In that time as a songwriter, violinist, guitar player, and singer, she’s homed in on an elegant folk aesthetic that recalls the literate and sophisticated musicality of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and traditional folk music. Outside of her solo career, Kathryn has toured, performed and taught extensively in the US, Japan, The Netherlands, India, Belgium and France.

Today Glide is excited to premiere the album’s titular first single “Eastern Bound For Glory”, a song that represents a creative breakthrough that informed the emotionality and music of the rest of the album. With a delicate and majestic indie rock sound, Kathryn incorporates lush strings with her own noir-ish guitar playing and orchestral arrangements. Lyrically, the song dwells on the grueling pace of life on the road as a touring artist, which Kathryn presents with a classy yet folky sensibility. 

Listen to the tune and read Kathryn’s insightful thoughts on it below…

I love it when a song evolves and changes with time. This song has certainly done that. The title track of the new album, Eastern Bound For Glory, reflects how my aesthetic has shifted through the writing and recording of this album. What started as a simple bass line that I captured on my phone during a sound check back in 2015 grew into a lush, symphonic track with indie rock instrumentation and vibey spaghetti western atmospherics.

I approached the lyric writing differently on this track as well. Instead of focusing on a main theme or story line, I wrote about snapshots from my life on the road both at home and over seas. There were so many images I was collecting during my tours, and when I came time to put them on the page, I decided to treat them as individual sketches strung together into a sonic and lyrical slide show.

What has surprised me in the last few months is that my relationship the lyrics has deepened. This sonic scrapbook dedicates a verse to each of the cardinal directions. The first verse is dedicated to the east, as is the title of the track and album. I have  been touring in Japan for the past 2 weeks and the lines of this verse have taken on new meaning. I have been playing with a backing band comprised of Tokyo based musicians. Two of them I knew prior to the tour and had worked with several times, but the other two I had not. During the first rehearsal, though our communication was limited, the musical chemistry was palpable, especially on this song. Each musical had learned the parts from the recording and then added their own personality to it. As we toured together, I began to feel a sense of family – that I was with my new sisters and brothers. Several times throughout the tour, others have eluded to this experience of feeling as though we are musical siblings.

My career has been built upon creating global musical relationships and using music to connect people across borders, languages and generations. The language I speak best is the language of music. And so, as I sing the song today, the lyrics ring true:

“We are eastern bound for glory.
Listen up now, he has a story.
Language spoken like no other
Be my sister, I’ll be your brother.”


Photo credit: Chris-Sturm

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