This Is Our Jam: Connie Converse, "One By One"

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It occasionally happens that an artist gets recognition only after they’ve passed away or stopped recording, but it's rare that a completely unknown musician’s body of work is as heartbreaking, unique, and fully realized as Connie Converse’s. According to Squirrel Thing Records, who posted a Kickstarter to raise money for a vinyl release, Connie Converse lived in Greenwich Village in the 1950's, where she tried her hand at singing. After years of recieving little to no recognition, Converse became disheartened and moved to Michigan, ostensibly giving up on her dreams. Then, in 1974, Connie Converse wrote a farewell to her friends and family, got in her Volkswagen, and vanished forever.
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Perhaps the oddest part of her story (aside from her mysterious disappearance), were the recordings, poetry, and art pieces later found in her garage—a lifetime of work. Converse’s singing style falls somewhere between early 20th Century popular piano music and a truly haunting storytelling style that feels immensely sad and timeless. On “One by One,” Converse’s plaintive, wavering voice recounts a nighttime stroll that becomes a journey into a different type of darkness. If she were recording today, Converse’s music would garner comparison’s to Joanna Newsom, back in the ‘50s she sounds stranger, sadder, and wholly unlike her New York contemporaries. Listen to a selection of her recordings, below, and donate to her Kickstarter here.
Image by Sayaka Nagata.
Connie Converse—ALBUM
"One by One"
All music is for sampling purposes only. Please go out and buy the artists' records. If you would like for us to remove a track, please email us at feedback@refinery29.com.
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