First Watch: Lydia Ramsey, 'Ghosts'

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Lydia Ramsey appears in a still from her video for "Ghosts."

I first heard Lydia Ramsey when the band she plays in, St. Paul de Vence, entered the 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. A few months later, I was at KEXP, our NPR Member station in Seattle, for an event with a performance by that band. One of the many talents in St. Paul de Vence was Lydia Ramsey. Now she has a song on her own, and her voice shines. It's an old voice from a young singer, and this video explores that heritage.

"'Ghosts' tells the story of two characters, existing in the same place at different times," she writes in an email. "The theme comes from stories of my own relatives, those who brought me into this world and shaped who I am. I've always wanted to know more about my own lineage, fascinated by these people whose genes I've inherited. Many were writers and musicians and pastors and free spirits and not-so-free spirits, and many hailed from the southern regions of this country where early traces of traditional folk music are found. When I began to write more and more in this style and to feel so profoundly moved by this music, I began to wonder where our muses really come from."

The video was filmed by Matt Macy and Tony Archie Kim in a barren landscape near Vantage, Wash., which Lydia Ramsey says "conjure[s] mysteries of the unknown, and offer[s] a connection between the human and the divine."

"Ghosts" is from an upcoming album called Bandita, due out in February 2017.

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