“I Can Still Hear You,” the title track from singer-songwriters Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainright Roche’s haunting and soulful October album of the same name, serves as a meditation on life during the pandemic. Listening to it in my car, driving to nowhere as there’s not much safe to do, I was moved by its vivid reminder of all we have lost and all we miss since social distancing has become a way of life.
Suzzy, who connected deeply with her fans for decades as part of the beloved folk group The Roches, continues to create thoughtful songs and rich harmonies with her accomplished daughter Lucy.
The song’s evocative and moving message — reflecting on separation and loneliness during this dystopian moment, which has been made worse by President Trump’s callous behavior — grabbed me. Suzzy and Lucy’s voices blend with a luminous sound that is gentle, elegant and strong. They comfort us and remind us that we are not really alone.
Lucy wrote the song “during the bleak days of the shutdown and she made this video from footage she had on her phone during that time,” said Suzzy.
The footage is familiar: empty streets, closed bars, lonely night skies and a mom (Suzzy) waving behind a mask. And there are transcendent moments: Neighbors open windows to cheer on health care workers, who are then shown waving back … Zoom sessions by performers … Zoom chats with family. The video captures activism during the pandemic, including protests against systemic racism and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Then it lifts us up by sending viewers love and hope through images of a red heart, a white flowering tree and the bright arc of a rainbow in the blue sky.
Suzzy and Lucy sing:
Remember the words or the parts that you saved
Or carousel horses or how the summer behaves,
Or off in the distance, remember me too ’cause I can still hear you.
From all of the people below and above,
To all of the things we need to be careful of,
From “That was a near miss” to “Where do I sign this?”
I can still hear you.
Suzzy praised Melissa Ferrari and Janie Geiser, who made evocative and inspiring videos for two other songs from I Can Still Hear You, which are also embedded below.
Ferrari created the video for the gorgeous “Get the Better,” co-written by Suzzy and Lucy. There is something holy-sounding about this song, with its references to broken wings, angels, regret, and loss of innocence.
Geiser made the video for the dreamy “I Think I Am a Soul,” written by Suzzy. Lines such as “never meant to go astray, floating around 14th Street every day” capture the weariness of walking around New York alone and anonymous after changes and loss. Suzzy and Lucy sing about shopping for tomatoes, and the corresponding image and sound seem more magical than mundane.
They sing “no one even knows me, but still I turned out alright … the soul that I am gets lonesome like a million others” and ask the Lord to “shine your ever-loving light on me.”
They also sing, “Soul that I am begs for mercy,” a sentiment shared by many right now.
If you need a holiday gift that sends a message of love and compassion, check out I Can Still Hear You. I also recommend Suzzy’s latest book, “The Town Crazy” (Gibson House Press, $16.99), which I just devoured. She previously penned the novel “Wayward Saints” and the children’s book “Want to Be in a Band?” This novel contains many surprises and rich character portraits and touches on passion, the pain of disappointing marriages, the destructiveness of gossip and the fragility of childhood, and she leaves us with a message of peace, love and understanding.
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