Heather Woods Broderick Brings New Album, Stories to Boston

For Heather Woods Broderick, work and self-therapy meet at a convenient intersection; this past July, they collided in the form of “Glider,” Broderick’s latest album.

The folk-indie singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was at the Great Scott in Allston on Sunday, playing with Canadian artist Jesse Marchant. “Glider” describes Broderick’s journeys with new places and old acquaintances.

“I had been through a couple relationships and breakups,” Broderick said, “I hadn’t really spent a lot of time processing those or thinking about what happened and things I needed to do differently.”

The track “Wyoming,” for instance, alludes to a stalled friendship that never regained its footing.

It’s sort of this reflection, a rekindling with a friend that I had lost touch with and not being able to fully rekindle that friendship the way that we had dreamt of doing,” she said. “I wrote the song when I was on tour, and I was literally driving through Wyoming.”

While her music often focuses on a lost past, Broderick is not as melancholic herself and uses her lyrics as a tool for clarifying her emotions.

None of the stuff that I write down is stuff that I hang onto; it’s sort of a way of getting it out,” she said. “It’s not that I’m an overly sentimental person and I’ve spent years pining over these situations or something. For the sake of the song I was probably feeling it and thinking about it when I wrote it down, and that’s the nature of the song, you then have to play it and sing it over and over again.” 

After moving to Portland, Ore. from Maine with her family at the age of eight, Broderick began taking piano lessons, following the pursuits of her parents — both play folk music on a variety of instruments. Her younger brother Peter is also a recording artist and has collaborated with Heather on many projects.

“With Peter it’s much easier [to make songs together] since we did come from the same musical background and sort of have the same sense of melody and stuff like that,” Broderick said. “He’s always been really encouraging with my stuff, and I might be his biggest fan.”

Photo by Dusdin Condren

Although home for her has largely meant Portland, Ore., Broderick’s travels with different bands define her “gliding” nature. After releasing her first album, “From the Ground,” in 2009, she toured around as a backing member for notable folk artists such as Danish band Efterklang and singer Sharon Van Etten.

“The good thing about traveling so much and losing the sense of home is that I feel pretty comfortable anywhere,” she said. One example is one of her new songs, “Mama Shelter,” where Broderick sings, “I thank the luck I’ve always had in starting up/But I got half a mind to move away and give it up.”

The cover of “Glider” features the siblings’ grandmother, as Broderick emphasizes family in both her music as well as in life.

“Family and the few, select very dear friends that I’ve made and have been lucky enough to keep in my life are really important to me,” she said. “I really cherish the people I have close relationships with.

“You can find a lot of reflections of yourself and things you’ve gone through when you’re talking about people you know really well. Imagery-wise it’s easy to conjure up those memories through people and through family and friends.”


Feature Photo by Dusdin Condren courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

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