Annie Keating’s new single “Kindred Spirit” is a testament to emotional uproot—to hands that reach, desperately, in the cool blue dark and tangle with someone else’s. It’s a song about recognition: eyes meeting across a room, waves lapping against the side of a boat, a warm and familiar scent. Keating has historically been compared to the likes of country legends Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson, but she stands alone in the gritty emotional nuance of this love song.
There’s a sadness about where you’ve been/I feel it coming off your skin
The three-minute track is a taste of Keating’s upcoming album, Bristol County Tides, which early listeners claim to be her most distinguished collection yet. The album was inspired by the tumultuous events of the last year, self-described as “an epic pandemic story of awakening and inspiration.” Keating’s new single speaks to the ever-deepening value of genuine connection in a time of uncertainty, noting how struggle can actually draw lovers closer together. “Kindred Spirit” finds the speaker falling hard for someone who feels inexplicably familiar. This connection feels beyond words, beyond casual conversation. Keating sings to this near-spiritual intimacy with a stark infatuation, insisting that “words may lie but your eyes tell me the truth.”
Growing up in a broken way somehow/Kindred spirit, nice to meet you
“Kindred Spirit” is a song of both the past and the present, one that fiercely examines how old pain can cultivate new connections. It’s tempting to analyze the song in terms of personal projection—what are the implications, after all, of loving someone for the ways in which they reflect your own pain?—but Keating’s vocals are so open, so calmly honest that you can only read this as a genuine love song. Keating leads with her husky vocals and acoustic guitar; Steve Williams follows on drums and percussion; Todd Caldwell carries us on organ and piano; Teddy Kumpel kills it on guitar; and Rick Hammond drives us home on the bass. Never stepping on each other’s toes, this musical team leads the listener through a pandemic love story that you can’t help but invest in.
Born into that kind of blue that couldn’t help but shape you/I know, I know because I was too
Annie Keating’s “Kindred Spirit” is a hall of mirrors where no matter where you turn, you are faced with the one you love—a connection, a reflection, a recognition. It’s a song about experiencing brokenness, and recognizing that same brokenness in someone else—but using that pain as a seed rather than an ax. It’s about a flicker of familiarity, a wordless bond, an unspeakable closeness. And if it’s any indication of what Keating has to come in Bristol County Tides, then we should all pay close attention.