On this International Women’s Day, I’d like to celebrate the achievement of the most inspiring woman I know.
The first time I saw Annabel Lee perform was at an intimate songwriter night in Los Angeles. The room was in disbelief at what we had just collectively experienced. A mix of unbridled power with raw poetic emotion. I had never seen someone grab hold of every single person in the room so effortlessly before. I left unbelievably inspired.
I started going to her shows around town. When she played with her band it was an out of body, visceral experience. I remember one show she played at the Satellite in Silverlake (RIP) where once she finished the set, the audience screamed with this collective catharsis. Everyone turned to each other with an inspired jolt inside of them exclaiming “that was the best show I’ve ever seen!” With only 200 people in the room, people knew they were witnessing something special. I remember one person saying “she’ll be headlining Coachella in 2 years!”
I ended up hitting all of her shows around town, front row, screaming the lyrics along with the growing die hard fans whom I also got to know well. See, in LA, building a grassroots fanbase (without industry -or internet – buzz) is all but impossible. But Annabel was doing it.
Then she played a sold out showcase at the famed School Night at Bardot where the room was on fire. I had never heard a roar in that space as loud as the crowd after her set.
And then the world shut down. No more live music. No more visceral collective catharsis. No more Annabel Lee shows.
Annabel Lee is an anomaly. She sounds unlike any other artist in LA.
She’s not a sensitive singer/songwriter, however she regularly brings the room to tears with her song “Los Angeles.” She’s not a pop artist, but hearing just one chorus of her song “Up” and you won’t be able to get it out of your head for weeks. She isn’t a gritty rocker, but she gets grungier and heavier than any other rock artist in LA with her song “Saltine Cracker Girl.” You would be misguided to pigeon hole her into a feminist box, but her song “Alas, I’m a Lady” is the most brilliant (and unassuming) feminist anthem of our time. And she’s not a folk artist, but “Mother’s Hammer” vividly brings you into the depths of her excruciating journey through beautiful imagery and poetry.
Although she has a die-hard fanbase where she receives messages from people around the world daily telling her she is their favorite artist and that she has inspired them, changed (and saved) their lives, her social “numbers” are modest.
Of course we know by now that “numbers” don’t tell the full story. Social media and streaming numbers are an indicator of how wide you get, but not how deep. Streaming numbers are just that, numbers. They don’t reflect impact. One stream could be someone who heard a song on a playlist and hit next after 37 seconds or one stream could be from someone balling their eyes out having a spiritual experience. Numbers don’t reflect impact. Numbers don’t tell the whole story.
But I digress.
Annabel Lee is the best kept secret of not only Los Angeles, but the modern music world.
And today, she releases her groundbreaking, debut album, “Mother’s Hammer.” In an era of write-by-committee, where the total number of collaborators on many albums topping the charts wouldn’t fit on the back of a 12” LP, it’s refreshing to hear an album written 100% by the artist with simply 3 additional collaborators: her producer Justin Glasco, mixing engineer Ryan Lipman and mastering engineer Jett Galindo.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a small part of Annabel’s journey as she made this brilliant record over the past couple years. I’ve had the honor of hearing every iteration of these songs – from testing them out at songwriter showcases the day she wrote them, to early demos, to rough bounces, to initial mixes, to finally, experiencing this masterpiece on vinyl, start to finish.
As many times as I’ve heard these songs, there’s something about them that never gets old. The writing is timeless. The production is timeless. She’s truly an old soul in a young body placed on earth at this time, to bring much needed beauty and understanding to our fucked up world.
So, on this International Women’s Day, I encourage you to listen to this album by this incredible woman who I have now devoted my life to. My wife, Sarah, or as the world will soon know her to be: ANNABEL motherfucking LEE.
Listen on your favorite platform: https://ffm.to/annabellee_mothershammer
Grab the vinyl: https://merchcrush.com/collections/annabel-lee
Name your price on Bandcamp: https://yourannabellee.bandcamp.com/album/mothers-hammer-2
Get on her email list to be notified when she plays near you: https://www.annabelleemusic.com/