When you sit in silence, you’ll quickly discover that we are constantly enveloped in music. It’s in the rustling of leaves, the chirping of birds, the flow of water. From the Texas plains to the foothills of Los Angeles, esteemed musician Emily Elbert has found lifelong inspiration in this. After having spent much of the past few years focusing on co-writes, studio sessions, and tours for industry peers such as Gwen Stefani, Esperanza Spalding, Leon Bridges, Sara Bareilles, Jacob Collier, Jenny Lewis, and many others, today, Elbert returns with the announcement of a new album Woven Together, out August 19. Enchanting and thought-provoking, the project merges soul and folk over ideas of transcendentalism by touching on themes of community, self-inquiry, vulnerability and gratitude.
Alongside the news, she also shared a live video performance featuring Jacob Collier of the pacific track “Not Alone,” where Elbert contemplates interconnectedness and how, despite the illusion of separateness in a society that promotes individualism and alienation from nature, we are connected to all things. It’s a jazz-folk contemplation of solitude that unfolds into Brazilian-inspired percussion and psychedelia. “There’s this propulsive, almost water-like element to the rhythm that both comforts me and makes me feel alive,” she expands.
Co-produced by Elbert and Alex Krispin (Daniel Lanois, Ben Sollee, Jarina de Marco), Woven Together is Elbert’s first album of original music since 2018’s We Who Believe in Freedom. “Making it felt process-oriented and exploratory, without any sense of capitalistic pressure – music for the sake of making something loving and true.” Elbert says. Rooted in curiosity, she says the experience was a healthy one, like hiking up a mountain or tending to a garden.
Growing up on Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell, Elbert has always been drawn to music that has a social or political charge to it. “With reverence, but also a healthy sense of rebellion,” she says. After getting her first guitar at age 14, Elbert would shyly sing acoustic Woodstock-era covers at local churches and coffee shops, then crowdfunded her first album in high school before she began booking her own international DIY tours. Now, having released several acclaimed albums, Woven Together brings us to the turbulence-free journey from self to universe, threaded together over the course of seven captivating tracks. “One thing that feels central to the whole project (and my being) is the idea that any act can be an act of prayer, pleasure or play,” she says. “It felt that way making this whole album, really – rooted in the Earth, but reaching for the stars.”
Photo Courtesy: Jayden Becker