Grief is one of the most powerful, gut-wrenching emotions. It constricts and lets up, washing over us in waves but never truly disappearing; after all, grief is the love we can no longer express.
In Kara Cole’s February single, “Mary Francis,” the Indianapolis-born songwriter details the pain of gradually losing her grandmother — the song’s namesake — to Alzheimer’s disease in 2021. Cole sings with a bold feeling of honesty that blends smoothness into her raw, raspy voice, making every lyric fall gracefully into the hearts of her audience.
Upon the single’s release in early 2023, Cole shared a music video that parallels shots of her driving an orange pickup truck through her grandmother’s neighborhood with pictures and videos of Mary Francis throughout her life.
In the video, which was directed by William Gawley and shot in Nashville, the warmth of the truck’s color against the cold backdrop of a world without her grandmother pulls the audience into Cole’s heart and makes them feel the same sense of loss as she does.
Lyrics like, “Where do you go when you drift away? / A beautiful sunrise / Or the end of a day?” and “I wanna go / To all the places you go / When you get lost in time / Your weary mind / I’ll bring you home,” convey Cole’s desire to understand and connect with her grandmother as she slips away. The solemn yet soulful beauty of her guitar rhythms cling to the listener with each play, and doesn’t have a depressing feel to it despite the subject matter.
After struggling with addiction, Cole credits music with saving her life and guiding her through recovery, providing her an outlet to face and process her experiences. Her songs are genuine and steeped in passion, and her sound is uniquely her own, chock full of soul and Americana feelings.
Cole’s newest single, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” presents the same pain and vulnerability as “Mary Francis,” while also touching on different sounds and experiences. The upbeat breakup song illustrates being unable to move on from a relationship while the other person seems fine, and Cole manages to put her own gloomy, poignant spin on an all-too-relatable feeling.
In the inauthentic nature of today’s world, Kara Cole provides a breath of fresh air. She has her debut album dropping July 1st.