VIDEO REVIEW: Maryleigh Roohan “Oh Brother”

With nothing more than three and a half minutes, some bluesy guitar, and some starkly emotive lyrics, Maryleigh Roohan effortlessly sets our hearts a smolder with her new track and video for her song “Oh Brother.” A lost relationship is perhaps the most oft employed musical theme; it is inherent in the human condition to feel that pang of loss, but more often than not, that emotion becomes overwrought with sappiness and is treated with the mundane, formulaic handling of radio’s top 40. This is certainly not the case with Roohan’s powerfully resonant ballad. Coupled with filmmaker Lindsey Copeland’s elegantly crafted video, this is a definitely a heartfelt endeavor.
The song’s strength comes from two direct sources, its concise lyrics, and Roohan’s bereft crooning. The opening “oh brother” hearkens to a sort of hymnal Americana that her sound is attributed. The song drives home the idea that the voice behind the lyrics can really invoke the emotion behind the words. Lyrically this song is not complex or hard to understand. But the intermissions filled with Roohan’s humming, or even with the simple “oh” following the second line of the chorus really leech out the emotion from the words themselves. Lest we forget the understated whistling solo which adds a sort of nonchalance or coming to terms with the loss of something immense.
The song is underpinned by a stunningly thoughtful video. The hues are warm, the scene is almost orange; it has the familiar glow of candlelight on a cold dark night. But the juxtaposition to the dark shadows overcast by the Williamsburg bridge show the loss of the battle. The scorched paper in the beginning depict that very battle, how flame and passion eventually, and often too quickly, submit to the dark. The journey throughout the video, past the empty picture frames and the relics of struggle enhance the message of the song. By the time that forlorn whistle solo kicks in, the ashes of what were are being carelessly strewn about the bridge, in anger and fury but also in resolve. A quick image of burning sage show an attempt at a new beginning, but perhaps only a futile one. As the lyrics “Liquor is quicker than the blood that we share/ Liquor is quicker than learning to care” ring one last time over the tapering music, there still remains a pair of sullied hands. A powerful ending to an impactful song prove that the partnership between Maryleigh Roohan and Lindsey Copeland was truly fateful.
The release of Roohan’s new song and video follow up her full length Skin and Bone released earlier this year, and if it tells us anything about this talented songwriter, it is that we need to stop and listen. Check out the video here and just feel for a few minutes:

Oh Brother- MaryLeigh Roohan from Lindsey Copeland on Vimeo.