Natalie Merchant Shares New Single ‘Come on, Aphrodite’: Listen
Natalie Merchant has released a new single, Come On Aprodite, featuring singer Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), listen below.
It is the first track released from Merchant’s forthcoming album, Keep Your Courage, and establishes the record’s themes of love and passion as essential to the human experience. Merchant’s ninth solo studio album, and the latest new material since 2014’s self-titled record, Keep Your Courage is set for release on 14 April on Nonesuch Records; pre-save/pre-order here.
“Come On, Aphrodite is an invocation to the goddess of love and passion,” says Merchant. “In the lyrics, I list all the clichés we use to describe falling in love: being drunk and blind, over the moon, weak in the knees, and half out of our minds. For the Greeks, when the spirit of love descended, it was seen as a kind of assault; you would become powerless against an all-consuming, sweet madness. Amazingly, humans still crave it, in spite of the perils.”
Produced by Merchant, Keep Your Courage is an eclectic album that features additional contributions from Celtic folk group Lúnasa, Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobsen, and Megan Gould. The new record comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of Hunting the Wren by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl.
In celebration of the new music, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the autumn with European dates to be announced shortly.
Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the pandemic… a period of great flux and fear on every level… but this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues, “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”