Tag Archives: Land of Talk

Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell on the Healing Power of Music

Land of Talk

Photo by Matt Williams.

In 2011, Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell was writing and recording demos on her laptop for a solo album when her computer crashed and she lost everything. Deflated, Powell decided to take a break from music. Instead, she turned to creating visual art and, drawing on 14 years of classical training, got back into dance. When her dad suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013, her life was put on indefinite hold while she helped him recuperate.

As her dad’s recovery progressed, Powell felt her keyboard and amp calling to her. With encouragement from friends and family, and after reconnecting with original Land of Talk drummer Bucky Wheaton, her new album, Life After Youth began to take shape. Soon, Powell had a small team of people assisting her—among them, longtime friend Sharon Van Etten (the early days of their friendship are captured in an episode of La Blogothèque’s Take Away Show), producer John Agnello, and former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. The result is a curiously lush recording, energetic but never harsh—a tender comfort.

On “Magnetic Hill,” from Land of Talk’s debut EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, Powell sings, “Life’s long / Can’t tell.” Eleven years later, on Life After Youth’s “Loving,” Powell contradicts that statement: “Life’s not long, why don’t you live it?”

“You can’t take anything for granted,” she says. “Everything becomes more and more meaningful the more you realize that time goes by and doesn’t just stop for you.” There is undoubtedly life after youth, but you need to be around to see it.

We chatted with the Canadian artist about her journey back to music and the people who helped her along the way.

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