In December 2016, we fell madly in love with “Don’t Hush, Darling”, an anti-lullaby from The Corner Laughers, a California band led by singer/ukulele player Karla Kane. A blend of empowering lyrics, emotive music and Karla’s bewitching voice, it was/is ‘hauntingly beautiful’, and still remains at the top of our wysky playlist. So when Karla told us that she made a new version of the song for her debut solo album, and set it to a women-powered music video, we could not hush our excitement.
Karla’s new album, King’s Daughters Home For Incurables, is due out this Friday, October 6 and features a magical mix of “feminism and folk tales, pagan pop and pastoral protest songs”. The first single, “The Lilac Line”, joins 10 other tracks, including her new version of “Don’t Hush, Darling”, for which Karla changed up the production and redid her vocals. “The first version, which I released under The Corner Laughers band name, had more of the indie-pop/rock sound, with electric guitar and drums,” she shared with WSYK. “The new version has more of an acoustic/folk sound, with nature recordings of bees, rain and thunder woven into it.”
In making this new version of the song truly her own, Karla also decided to bring “Don’t Hush, Darling” to visual life with a music video. To make that happen she reached out to her long-time friend, internationally recognized dancer and choreographer, Tara Catherine Pandeya. Since meeting in second grade, this would be the first time the two artists would collaborate, and Tara jumped on board immediately.
Don’t hush, darling, go ahead and cry.
Like those starlings, fill up the sky.
Don’t be afraid to take up space,
You should be seen.
And don’t choose princess, when you should be the Queen.
“I was totally mesmerized and inspired by ‘Don’t Hush, Darling’ when I first heard it. Karla’s voice against the background drone and the sound of swarming bees, is incredibly hypnotic, illuminating and feminist in nature,” the former Cirque du Soleil principal dancer, who specializes in dance from the regions of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, East Turkestan, Iran, and Azerbaijan told us. “Imagery and movement immediately came out of me.”
Of the dance Tara choreographed for the music video, Karla said, “Her beautiful movements complement the song so well and add new dimensions to it.” Tara is also featured in the “Don’t Hush, Darling” video dancing with Karla’s daughter, Octavia. This was particularly meaningful for Karla since, as she noted, “I wrote the song partly for my daughter.”
As for the other songs on King’s Daughters Home For Incurables, many were recorded at home, rather than in a studio with a producer; just Karla, a laptop, her ukulele and a single microphone, usually in the evening, after Octavia went to bed.
The themes Karla weaved into her songwriting for this album include “anxious thoughts on motherhood and the passing of time, the search for ‘home’, and a deep desire to summon optimism and hope in a dark world.” She added, “Many were written under the shade of a beloved oak tree in my backyard.”
Karla’s debut solo album has been the soundtrack of our office this week, and upon hearing and seeing the new Don’t Hush, Darling, our co-founder exclaimed, “Is it possible for both versions to be my all-time favorite song?!?!”
What Else You Should Know About Karla Kane
Karla Kane is best known as the lead singer, songwriter, ukulele player for California band The Corner Laughers. They have released four albums, plus two more with the side project Agony Aunts. Kane has performed alongside members of Fountains of Wayne and The Soft Boys, Martin Newell, Hungrytown, and Allen Clapp (The Orange Peels). Her music has been featured in retail stores including Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle and played on the BBC, CBC and radio stations throughout the U.S.. Kane has received multiple awards including Twirl Radio’s Twirly Award for album of the year 2009/10 and runners-up in 2012 and 2015, and best album of the year (2015) in Discussions Magazine and Goldmine Magazine.