When folk singer-songwriter Jaimee Harris hit the age of 30 during the pandemic, she started looking into her past, reflecting on her Texas “boomerang town” and upbringing. Harris says she is “at an age where I’m wrestling with trying to understand the nature of my family.”
As someone who has dealt with the afflictions of addiction and alcoholism, this was something that played a role as a central theme in her newest single, “The Fair and Dark Haired Lad.”
The lilting, Irish shanty-influenced track grapples with the seductive nature of alcohol, and its empty promise of easing pain. The haunting track is accompanied by an even more haunting video, which acts as almost an uber short horror film in its own right. The black and white video seemingly set in some early 20th Century Victorian house depicts a child and young adult who see the “lad” acting as some omnipresent evil presence. The video was directed by Anana Kaye and Irakli Gabriel.
The fiddle in the song’s introductory groove immediately pulls the listener in with its yearning and weeping, almost mysterious tone. As the song takes shape, one can hear the pain and emotion in the “oohs” of the song through the beautiful harmony.
The song creatively describes the “lad” who personifies alcoholism perfectly in the third verse: “Bloodshot eyes and a vacant stare / He’s got no voice but he calls my name.” It goes on to cryptically explain that this force took everything she had.
The clever storytelling lyrics and beautiful instruments tied together with Harris’ powerful voice make for a truly immersive listener experience.
Co-written with Dirk Powell (Joan Baez, Rhiannon Giddens) and Katrine Noel (Les Hay Babies), the song began as a discussion about vices at a songwriting workshop in Lafayette, Louisiana. “Dirk brought in the idea of using the character ‘The Fair and Dark Haired Lad’ to represent the alluring, insidious nature of alcoholism,” remembers Harris.
“The Fair and Dark Haired Lad” is the third single from Harris’s upcoming sophomore effort, Boomerang Town—out February 17th via Thirty Tigers. She will hit the road in 2023, with new dates recently added.
Photo by Brandon Aguilar
*Paul Howard contributed to this article