Kate Vogel has a gift for taking the most heavy experiences and personal darkness and turning them into meaningful songs that both honor the experience and cast insight into how one might process a bit of that grief. Her single “The Grave” is about the funeral of a friend who tragically died in a car crash and sketching the outlines of the story are minimal piano and guitar figures, a shimmering accent of percussion and a touch of pedal steel to augment a sense of loss. The lyrics sound as though Vogel and her significant other were devastated by the death of the friend but only one of them could be emotionally present at the funeral, or unable to show up at all, and the sense of guilt that lingers from that moment when common human frailty seems to crush you from within and amplify a sense of failure. Though Vogel doesn’t let herself off the hook in the song the act of writing it suggests the ability to feel acutely that loss and in articulating it with the delicacy of feeling displayed the hope of forgiveness of self even if you feel like you don’t deserve it. Listen to “The Grave” and other songs by Vogel on Spotify and connect with the songwriter at the links below.
Kate Vogel uses the metaphor of the weather for struggling through tough times on her single “Rain.” With an intricate guitar figure and a doleful tone intermittently swelling and fading in the background, Vogel sings about the conflicting internal and external messaging about where she comes up short and how that affects her sense of self and who she is. Maybe the song isn’t about being in a state of depression but it does capture the sense of how every little setback emotionally feels like a disaster and you feel precarious and tender and when you can have a period of peace you feel like maybe you can make the effort to better your life one of those setbacks will put you into a bit of an emotional tailspin. But the tenor of the song is not in one of those heightened states of anxiety, it’s in the lower point when you can remind yourself to be patient and do your best to make the best of what seems the worse. The line “Don’t know when those storm clouds will roll away, but til then I’m just dancing in the rain” embodies the fragile grace one is best served with maintaining while the emotional storm is going on and often it is just enough. Listen to “Rain” on Spotify and follow Kate Vogel at the links below.
The title to Kate Vogel’s “Reasons to Stay” sounds like it’s going to be about reconciling a relationship that was on the rocks or to stay someplace where you felt you no longer belonged and which seems to have changed beyond recognition but you rediscover everything you took for granted. And in a way it is about all of that. It’s about one’s relationship to oneself, to one’s learning to appreciate the things in one’s life that seemed at one point beyond your ability to perceive. It’s a song about reconnecting with the feelings and thoughts in your head that you thought were gone, driving you to dark places and contemplating not sticking around in the ultimate sense. The song is driven by simple yet evocative piano work and Vogel’s tender, resonant and versatile vocals. Her specific voicings and arrangements bring to life the struggle back from the edge and having convinced oneself that you have nothing left in a way that doesn’t feel like some faux posi pop song, it feels like it’s coming from a place close to the heart and not just because Vogel experienced the kind of anguish and darkness about which she sings, she captured perfectly how compassion, patience and sensitivity, even tenderness, with self and others are the only paths out of that place. Her focus on the small life details, listing them off from her specific experience, easily extrapolated to anyone else’s own life, that are easily forgotten in the depths of despair are also the things that seem important enough to your brain to pull back from one’s personal abyss. Listen to “Reasons to Stay”