“Went to Austin, Texas for a day/ To everyone I saw, I said your name/ The setting sun, the hot wind on my face/ Felt like home, an unfamiliar place.” This is the opening verse from Georgia Harmer’s new single “Austin.” It is an evocative sequence of words, even more so when affixed to the high-pitched vocal melody that darts across the guitar-strewn twilight. Toronto-based Harmer, a new signee to Arts & Crafts, continues to be mesmerizing as “Austin” progresses; she burrows into a deeply appealing vibe that reminds me of a slightly rootsier spin on the guitar-powered indie melancholia of early Wye Oak.
As she explains in a press release, Harmer’s lyrics are addressed to her father, a touring musician and the brother-in-law of Ontario singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer. Somewhat surprisingly, it was inspired by her experience on tour as a backup singer for pop singer Alessia Cara:
Back in 2018, when I was on the road with Alessia Cara, we went to Austin, Texas, and my dad recommended we go to this barbecue spot he had been to when he was touring there. We had a day or two off to explore, so we went. I thought of my dad while I was there, and often when I was on the road, because he’s also a touring musician — we’re very similar and we’re very close. I wrote this song to articulate the significance and importance of our relationship, how much I love and admire him, and our many parallels.
Hear “Austin” and Harmer’s prior single “Headrush” below.