PLAYING NASHVILLE: Liz Longley Premieres “3 Crow”

Photo by Kate Rentz

Filled with vulnerability and raw emotion, Liz Longley reclaims her personal boundaries in her new song, “3 Crow.”

Through a song that blends Christina Perri-esque vocals with a calming effect akin to Lana Del Rey, Longley paints a melodic portrait capturing the pain she felt breaking ties with a toxic friend. In a phone interview with Audiofemme, Longley shares that she often discusses the stories behind her songs on stage during live shows, but this is one she’s kept close to the vest.

Instead, the song speaks for itself, touching vividly on Longley’s experiences: having to bring a friend home after an altercation at the titular bar she can no longer go to; the time she stood watching with “tears in my eyes” when the friend got pulled over; lines becoming blurred both literally and metaphorically. These memories feel especially poignant because they’re real – the song was written about someone who lived near East Nashville neighborhood and took advantage of her friendship – and over the course of a few tumultuous months, Longley began to realize that actions she initially thought were in her best interest were actually done for the other person’s gain.

“Writing the song was my way of processing being around someone who didn’t respect my boundaries emotionally or physically, and trying to process that and learn how to set my own boundaries so that I wouldn’t set myself up for them to be challenged or disrespected again,” she explains. “I was thinking about it kind of like being under the influence, but of a person. You think ‘I’m a strong, independent woman, I’m not going to get under the influence of a person or fall victim to another person.’ It was eye-opening to realize that it can be a very gradual decline in a situation and it can grow into a situation where you don’t feel safe and it can happen to anyone.”

Longley says she wrote “3 Crow” in a near “meditative” state where the words began pouring out one night after being near this person’s house, leading to an awakening about the uncomfortable situation she was in. “Just the sight of this person’s house triggered me writing this song,” she observes. Vulnerability is an integral aspect of “3 Crow,” particularly as she sings “Slept on your couch/I insisted/You grabbed my mouth/And tried to kiss it/I gave you aspirin/And I swallowed a few hard pills myself.” It’s in these words that Longley expresses a sense of defeat that eventually turns into triumph.

Following “that realization, that hard pill that I swallowed of taking responsibility for letting myself get into this situation and letting it get to this point and almost feeling the defeat and the shame in that,” Longley says she experienced “that turnaround point where I’m saying ‘I’m not going to stand for it anymore, this is not going to happen again.’”

Longley stands firm in her proclamation not to let the vicious cycle continue by repeating “any more” at song’s end. This repetition is symbolic of how she’s standing firm in her strength and refusing to allow this unwanted behavior to be a part of her life. “Sometimes the songs come before the realization of what’s going on… putting this down on paper and then stepping away, I started to realize a lot of the symbolism in it and what I had to learn from writing it,” she affirms.

The Nashville-based singer has since cut off contact with this person and has used therapy and other healing methods as a way to move forward from the experience she expects will “unravel” as time goes on. “3 Crow” is featured on her upcoming album, Funeral For My Past, and marks the first time in four years that she’s released new original music. She hopes that when listeners hear this song, they’ll feel a sense of safety and acceptance. “Each and every one of us deserves to be loved and respected and if you’re not, I just want people to know that they’re worth more and that there is a way out and there’s hope for them,” Longley shares. “I just hope that it resonates with them on the same level that it did for me when I was writing this song.”

“3 Crow” is available now. Funeral For My Pastis expected to be released this year. Follow Liz Longley on Facebook for ongoing updates.

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