Michaela Anne struggles with a lover’s infidelity in “Easier Than Leaving,” a brokenhearted ballad that measures the distance between honesty and heartbreak. “How can I be hurt by what I don’t want to know?” she sings during the second verse, begging her no-good beau – whose skin still smells like a stranger’s perfume – to lie about where he’s been.
Originally released on last year’s Bright Lights and the Fame, “Easier Than Leaving” gets a stripped-down reboot in the video below. Performed under a willow tree with help from Kristin Weber, who played fiddle on Margo Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter before joining Dan Layus’ touring band, and singer/songwriter Erin Rae, the song becomes something different: a sad farewell not to the innocence and openness of pure, honest love, but to the nostalgic charm of a pre-growth spurt Nashville.
“When I first moved to East Nashville, we rented a cute little ranch,” Anne remembers, “but the main selling point was the two big beautiful willow trees: one in the front and one in the back. I loved those trees and always thought I’d make a video someday underneath the willows in the quiet solitude of my backyard.”
While touring last summer in support of Bright Lights and the Fame, Anne heard that her lease was being terminated. She came back home to find her entire block turned into a construction zone.
“The houses next door had all been bulldozed, with four homes being built in the place of two,” she explains. “One of the willow trees was bulldozed as well. In the rushed panic, I realized I never made that video. So on the last day that we had the keys to the house, with our stuff already all moved out, we begged the construction workers next door to take a five-minute break, paid off the guy mowing the neighbors yard to get a moment of silence and played my song one last time under the willow tree.”
Joshua Shoemaker directed the live clip, capturing Anne and company during the thick of a humid, 100-degree afternoon. The weather will be different when Anne kicks off a winter tour next week, though, with shows that take from the California coastline to central New York. Dates are below, followed by the official video premiere of “Easier Than Leaving.”
Michaela Anne tour dates:
Jan. 12 – Del Mar, CA @ Brick 15
Jan. 15 – Santa Barbara, CA @ SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
Jan. 18 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
Jan. 19 – San Francisco, CA @ Doc’s Lab (with Sam Outlaw)
Jan. 21 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo (with Sam Outlaw)
Jan. 25 – Nashville, TN @ The 5 Spot (with Miss Tess)
Feb. 15 – Nashville, TN @ Music City Roots
Feb. 22 – Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern
Feb. 23 – Barnesville, OH @ Albert S George Youth Center
Feb. 24 – Lancaster, PA @ Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival
Feb. 25 – Freehold, NJ @ Concerts in the Studio
Feb. 27 – Brooklyn, NY @ Skinny Dennis
Feb. 28 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2
March 1 – Cambridge, MA @ Club Passim
March 2 – Burlington, VT @ Light Club Lamp Shop
March 3 – Nelson, NY @ The Nelson Odeon
March 4 – Takoma Park, MD @ Square in the Circle House Concerts