For the graceful ballad “Without a Word,” singer-songwriter Sara Watkins sings over a smooth unfolding of black-and-white camera footage. Tight shots of a neat suitcase, the winding cord of a rotary phone, an empty hallway and an austere building facade string the story of Watkins’ opaque mood.
“Trying to wait for something you don’t know to show you where you are,” she sings over gentle acoustic strums. The video captures Watkins’ musical and lyrical subtlety. The camera winds through soft images of palm tree branches, windows reflecting on brick walls and barren living rooms juxtaposed with rolling waves and unfurling clouds. The only movement in the video is the light.
“Without a Word” is the second single from Watkins’ third solo record Young in All the Wrong Ways. The melody-driven LP is something of a sonic diary for the Nickel Creek co-founder, who wrote or co-wrote all 10 tracks on the album over the last few years.
“This album was written during a course correction,” Watkins recently told Rolling Stone. “I feel like I was assessing a lot of things in my life … I felt like there were some areas of my life where I could have just stayed the course and felt safe, but that wasn’t going to move me forward and challenge me, so I was making these conscious choices to embrace the turbulence.”
Watkins will embark on a vast North American tour this fall in support of the album. Find the full list of dates here.