SONG PREMIERE: Emily Moment Creates Future Folk Classic With Exquisite “Santa Maria”

An American songwriter living in London, Emily Moment spent much of the 2010s championing Americana music in the UK — not only as a member of acclaimed bands like The Savannahs and Mahoney & The Moment, but also as one of the organizers behind the long-running concert series Chalk Farm Folk. Originally launched as a monthly residency for Emily and her longtime collaborator, Steve Mahoney, Chalk Farm Folk quickly turned into a monthly showcase for roots music of all stripes, bringing free multi-band shows to a legendary music venue in Camden.

For Emily, Chalk Farm Folk wasn’t just about the music. It was about the communal circle of artists and fans who showed up every month. “It’s where we met most of our friends today,” she explains. “It became such a strong community.” A similar kind of supportive spirit fuels her new album The Party’s Over (out 3/26), a collection of literate Americana ballads and gentle folk songs that mark Emily’s first solo release in nearly a decade. Recorded with collaborators she met during Chalk Farm’s six-year run, it positions Emily not only as a rallying force, but as a force worth rallying around, too.

Glide is thrilled to premiere the achingly beautiful “Santa Maria” from Emily Moment. While reminiscent of many a spectral singer-songwriter including Emmylou Harris and Laura Marling, Moment creates a folk pop diamond that is destined to be a cult classic. 

Read on for Moment’s inspiration behind the song…

Inspired by real interviews with members of the 2018 migrant caravan, Santa Maria is the semi-fictional tale of one woman’s journey across Central America to seek asylum in the US.

 I couldn’t tear myself away from the news coverage of The Caravan. The dangerous narrative being spun about ordinary people fleeing deeply unordinary situations they had been born into, incensed me. I was just in awe of the militarised action and hateful rhetoric being used to frame a human crisis.

 There was one particular story which really touched me. A young Honduran woman had joined The Caravan while heavily pregnant; so pregnant, she gave birth along the way. She walked 2800 miles on the brink of labor to an uncertain end.  When asked about The President’s stance on what she was trying to achieve, she said, “If only God would soften his heart, because he has a heart of flesh and blood, not of stone.” I was so moved by the grace in her response. I wrote Santa Maria over the next day or so using her as my muse.

 I wanted the song to be a classic country waltz; the kind you think you may have heard before, with a refrain you can sing along to. The track was recorded live with the band and captured on the first or second take. I remember I said I wanted it to feel like we were playing around a campfire together. For me, Santa Maria weaves seamlessly into the fabric of this collection of Americana songs. There is no story more evocative of America to me than an immigrants fight to get there, but in more general terms, each song on the album, be it a foot-tapper or a ballad, attempts to unpack how we cope with life when it feels like it simply can’t get any harder. Do we seek help from others, do we find it deep within ourselves or do we quietly bottom out? Santa Maria explores that scenario in a unique way. 

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