There’s something glorious about a sad song, and North Carolina’s Midtown Dickens’ “Cross My Heart” definitely achieves that sort of heavy-hearted glory. That’s to be expected from a song whose genesis stems from an aborted cover of Townes Van Zandt’s saddest song, though. “A Couple of years ago, we had this idea to cover ‘Waiting Around to Die,’” explains singer Catherine Edgerton. “Our idea was that on the last time we say the word ‘die,’ we would switch to a major key chorus of voices.” Though the cover never materialized, they tucked the idea away for later use.
That key switch ended up being critical, as well as the addition of a bevy of instruments, like old synths, a bowed steel drum, a bowed cymbal with contact mic and a sax lead the song to an unexpectedly uplifting outro – which is part of the magic on “Cross My Heart.” It’s melancholy at heart, but leaves with an optimistic feeling.
Midtown Dickens’ new album Home is out April 3 on Trekky Records.Midtown Dickens - Cross My Heart