Kashena Sampson is a familiar face of the East Nashville music scene, known for her introspective lyrics and a voice that calls to mind Joni Mitchell and Linds Ronstadt. On Thursday, Sampson released the folk ballad “Work of Art,” her first new music since the 2017 debut album Wild Heart.
“Lovers come and go, will they ever know?” Sampson asks in the song, nodding to the impact that every relationship — broken or successful — has on one’s life.
“The song is a revisiting and reflection on a past relationship,” she tells Rolling Stone. “How the people who come into are lives, though not still there in a physical sense, remain and have an effect on who we are and choices we make.”
Her performance here is particularly wispy, as her voice lilts and draws out some gorgeously understated notes. The instrumentation reinforces the song’s subtle nature, evoking the best of Seventies folk.
Prior to moving to Nashville in 2015, Sampson — one of Rolling Stone Country‘s New Artists You Need to Know — worked on her personal health, paving the way for both Wild Heart and now “Work of Art,” a song that is just as much about her as it is any relationship.
“I was drinking and doing a lot of drugs when I was younger,” says Sampson, who got sober at 21. “Since then I have turned my focus and energy towards my music.”