In 2016, Phil Elverum’s wife Geneviève Castré passed away after a battle with cancer. Understandably, that was a significant and formative experience for Elverum, in both his personal life and in his music as Mount Eerie. This is a topic he addressed head-on in his 2016 album A Crow Looked At Me, and he’s treading similar thematic waters on his upcoming record Now Only.
He previously shared “Distortion,” an 11-minute exploration of life after the death of somebody special, and on new song “Tintin In Tibet,” Elverum uses mainly finger-picking guitar and his voice to address his late wife directly, talking about how they met and what it was like early on in their relationship. It’s an extremely personal and vulnerable look at what it’s like to lose a loved one, and a testament to Elverum’s courage: Even though the song is a celebration of Castré’s life, it can’t be easy to dig deep into such a traumatic experience in this way.
This lines up with Elverum’s vision of Now Only as a whole: Press materials say that the new album “explores the complicated emotional experience of releasing such intimate music into the world, the concept of remembrance and what its like to preserve a loved one’s creative legacy, and the continuing experience of real death entering Elverum’s house and life.”
Listen to “Tintin In Tibet” above. Now Only is out 3/16 on P.W. Elverum & Sun. Pre-order it here.