"Dama de Lavanda" by PAPERHEAD

A musical odyssey
In today’s catchiness-driven music industry, the structure of songs are often simplified, resulting in mountains of cyclical, repetitive tunes with little change in tempo, emotion, or lyrical content from start to finish. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with these types of songs; they can be and are done extremely well, but when a song comes along that completely breaks that mold, one can’t help but take notice. Nashville rock trio The Paperhead’s new song “Dama de Lavanda,” (Lavender Lady) off of their upcoming fourth album Chew, is the musical equivalent of an epic poem – a long journey with a sense of urgency and purpose, a quest of sorts. The Paperhead’s sound is unmistakably influenced by the rock of the ‘60s and ‘70s, bringing to mind what it would sound like if the Beatles and the Eagles had a kid and that kid watched a lot of Western movies and was in the jazz band in high school. Starting off with bouncing acoustic guitar, suspenseful background synths, pecks of flute, interjections of Latin jazz trumpet, and the thwack of a vibraslap (look it up), the song paints a picture of travelling through the Old West on horseback, an outlaw looking for redemption.
As the song progresses, conflict is introduced, the tempo picks up, warbling electric guitar is introduced, and a beautifully imprecise trumpet solo tells an emotive tale of triumph and despair. Instead of abruptly ending after the climax, “Dama de Lavanda” has an extended wind-down, where the tempo drops significantly, flute, falsetto non-verbal humming, and the twang of a sitar take over, and slowly fade out as the outlaw rides off into the sunset, perhaps unsure of whether or not having completed his quest has left him satisfied or hungry for more adventure. “Dama de Lavanda” is a cinematic experience, creating subtle imagery out of thin air, telling a story as old as time itself, and doing so in a way that is pleasing to the ears and the soul.