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Video Premiere: Rachel Baiman's 'Rust Belt Fields'

By Amanda Wicks

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Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman has shared a new video for her moving rendition of 'Rust Belt Fields'. It's premiering exclusively with Holler - watch below.

Slaid Cleaves and Rod Picott originally co-wrote the song, which pans across the desolate landscape of a former auto-manufacturing town after the work heads overseas. "And I learned a little something / 'Bout how things are / No one remembers your name / Just for working hard", Baiman sings somberly on her cover.

The video features Watchhouse's Andrew Marlin and Josh Oliver, who lend their instruments and harmonies to the song, adding a touch of tender melancholy to the already wistful track.

“I always love getting the chance to play music with Andrew and Josh, and I knew their vocal harmonies would lend themselves perfectly to this song", Baiman told Holler.

The video finds the three performing the song together in the round and underscores the cyclical themes on her latest album Cycles.

"We met in a beautiful old house in Knoxville for this video shoot, and it was the perfect way to connect this new record with the Shame album I made - primarily with just these two musicians - back in 2017", says Baiman. "The musical through lines and their influence on my arrangement sensibilities became evident with how easily the music came together".

As for why she chose to cover the song, Baiman said her bandmate Cy Winstanley first played it for her and she soon realized that she couldn't get it out of her head.

"I was attracted to it, in part, because it embodies everything that I love most about political songwriting", she said. "It’s a personal and emotional portrayal of a large scale problem, which is globalization and outsourcing. The fall of good paying industrial jobs in the United States has gotten us to exactly where we are now economically and socially, and is in many ways the beginning of the culture war in this country".

Baiman makes 'Rust Belt Fields' her own, playing warm fiddle which contrasts the deserted setting at the song's center. "I imagine that the character in this song would probably vote for Trump, and yet I feel entirely empathetic towards him", she explained. "Industrial ghost towns are all over the midwest, where I grew up, and I am all too familiar with this narrative and the toll that it takes on a community and working people."

Rachel Baiman's latest album Cycles is out now via Signature Sounds.