Adrianne Lenker’s New Palestine Benefit EP and Upcoming Studio Release

Adrianne Lenker, the singer-songwriter from Big Thief, is set to release her solo album Bright Future next week. However, she has already unveiled another project. Titled i won’t let go of your hand, the newest collection features six demo tracks and was made available March 11th on Bandcamp. It is for purchase only, and not available for streaming. All proceeds from this release will be directed to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund.

This release, of course, comes almost two years after the summer of 2022, when Big Thief faced criticism for scheduling tour shows in Tel Aviv, bassist Max Oleartchik’s home city. The band eventually canceled the shows, but the controversy nearly broke the band up as Lenker stated later in a New York Times story.

Lenker announced the release of i won’t let go of your hand in a recent Instagram post that lays the text “CEASEFIRE NOW” over the cover art of the six-track release. Some fans in the comments argued that the move was “too little, too late” or that it is ineffective without also condemning Israeli war crimes and genocidal actions. Regardless, the demos are a chance to materially support Palestinian children, a move the Big Thief fan base seems to support by a large margin.

Bright Future, due March 22, is the solo album Lenker recorded after the band had worked through the cancellations and controversy. The album features contributions from Nick Hakim, Mat Davidson, and Josefin Runsteen, who Lenker called some of “the best listeners I know musically” in a story with Consequence.

In conversations leading up to the release, Lenker has hinted at the album’s thematic depth, admitting that some of the songs are about specific heartbreaks. However, she has also expressed a desire to transcend narratives surrounding her personal life and instead offer a glimpse into her reflections on the complexities of existence.

The title itself, Bright Future, embodies a sense of hope and possibility with a tinge of ambiguity. A bright future could be bright in the traditional sense—fortune, success, and happiness—or it can be a strike of lightning, a spell of bad luck. Either way, the announcement of the release of this album has been met with much anticipation—proof that Lenker has figured something out, despite the uncertainty, turbulence, and trauma that has riddled her life.

Lenker, in an interview with the New York Times, said, “We come into it [life] not knowing where we came from, or where we’re going… All I know is we lose everything, and everyone we’ve ever come to love—which, no wonder life’s so hard…All we really have is the condition of our hearts and our souls, so my main goal is to condition myself to be more humble, more soft, more graceful.”

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