The End Is Only the Beginning: The Story of Connie Converse
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"In 1974, Elizabeth 'Connie' Converse wrote goodbye notes to her friends and family, packed her belongings into a Volkswagen and simply drove away. No one has seen or heard from her since." That's how the story of Connie Converse both ends and begins. Begins because it was only after her unexpected disappearance that her cache of home recordings was discovered — songs recorded in her kitchen, sometimes with friends but most often alone (and very alone, if you get my drift), beautiful and plaintive melodies with an extraordinarily intellectual bent. They revealed a mind both intuitive and highly observant, but seeming to grasp for hope and human companionship.
Listening now, the near ethereal quality of her work is only enhanced by its unusual backstory; the whole thing feels like a ghostly fabrication. Which, not surprisingly, is precisely what makes it so appealing. How Sad, How Lovely, a compilation of her songs,was released quietly in 2009, gathering a tiny, but fiercely loyal audience of folk-y romantics and lovelorn dreamer types, not to mention a gushing critic or two. Now, Squirrel Thing Recordings is out to follow it up with a specially packaged double vinyl edition called Musicks, featuring never-before-head recordings, and a bound book of Connie's letters, photographs, journals, and poetry. All of it will be assembled by hand with help from Ugly Duckling Presse (you may recognize the name from their own awesome Kickstarter project).
Connie's music exists in such a cloud to me — everything from the lyrics to the way it's recorded, as though Connie was sitting across the room from the recorder, makes it feel very, very far away — that to have and to hold it as a physical object seems like a dream come true. Emphasis on dream. Listen to more of her tunes, and pre-order a copy of the record, here.
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