Photo by Anna Webber
Going into the writing of her new album, Goodnight Rhonda Lee, Nicole Atkins was actively trying to make changes. She was (and, honestly, still is) testing sobriety, adjusting to life with her new and doting husband, and toughening herself up in the face of her father’s lung cancer diagnosis. But no matter how much she tried to adjust her life, one thing refused to change, and it haunted her every night.
“I kept having this reoccurring dream about a person I had a very intense relationship with,” Atkins explains to Consequence of Sound. “Actually I’d have this dream for years and I’d wake up in a cold sweat. I’d wake up like, ‘Get out of my goddamn dreams!’ It was like being haunted by the living. Surely modern witchcraft of some sort.”
To exorcize this immaterial demon, Atkins visited her friend and fellow songwriter Reno Bo. Together, they came up with her new single, “Sleepwalking”. “So much time has gone passed/ But I’m still haunted/ To forgive and forget is all I wanted,” she sings. “Past is the past/ I should leave it where it lies/ I can smile to your face/ You can see it in my eyes.” For all that frustration and sorrow, however, the song is surprisingly breezy. It sounds more like a soulful stroll through the beach with your sandals off than a fearful tiptoe around the dark corners of your memory. And there’s a good reason for that.
“When I recorded it I threw on some Love Boat horns in the middle eight because being dramatically sad should also be fun,” says Atkins. Listen in below.
“Sleepwalking” is the latest single of Atkins’ forthcoming Goodnight Rhonda Lee, out July 21st via Single Lock Records. Pre-orders are going on here.
Goodnight Rhonda Lee Artwork: