Premiere: Darren Jessee Shares New Single “Mirage”

Nov 30, 2022

By Caleb Campbell

Photography by Dustin Condren

Folk rock singer/songwriter Darren Jessee first got his start drumming for Ben Folds Five before going on to front indie rock outfit Hotel Lights and play drums for Sharon Van Etten, Hiss Golden Messenger, and The War on Drugs. In recent years, Jessee broke out with a solo career, debuting with The Jane, Room 217, and following in 2020 with Remover. Early next year, Jessee is back with his newly announced third LP, Central Bridge, arriving March 24th via Bar/None Records.

Central Bridge finds Jessee exploring quietly affecting new territory, expanding the smallest intricacies of life, and finding beauty in quiet moments, all while matching that intimacy with a meditative songwriting approach. As he describes, “Central Bridge is looking for life after the pandemic, looking for connections and to be connected through the heart and not just through the mind. To really feel your connection with everything, whether it’s nature or other people.”

Accompanying the announcement, Jessee has also shared the record’s lead single, “Mirage,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“Mirage” is a lush and instantly affecting work of indie folk, gently carried by soulful piano balladry and achingly beautiful string arrangements. Jessee’s songwriting shines with an open-hearted honesty and understated weight, letting the track unfurl at its own pace and weaving poetic observations within the sprawling instrumental expanse. Meanwhile, his lyrics find startling intimate beauty within the mundane moments of daily life, blending them with elegiac metaphor to haunting effect一“Walked down the empty / Cobblestone streets / Shared a jacket high out on the beach / Now the stars are all awash / In my brutal blue collage / How could I hold you when you’re just a mirage.”

Jessee says of the song’s inspirations, “I was at the grocery store thinking about a friend who is a moving target emotionally. Mirage is beyond reach and disappearing, a dream within a dream. A fleeting moment lost in the patchwork of friendships and a yearning for love that’s not really there.”

He says of the accompanying video, directed by Kenneth Dodge, “Talking to director Kenneth Dodge about Karen Dalton Super 8 footage I love inspired us to go hiking along the Maine/ NH wilderness and film ‘Mirage’ with a Russian camera lens from the 40s.

Check out the song and video below. Central Bridge is out March 24 via Bar/None Records.

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