Folk music has traditionally mirrored what is happening in the culture at a given moment and is often as important as accounts recorded in history books. Appropriately, in his new track “Paranoid Blues,” Brooklyn-based folkster Elliah Heifetz sings of the pervasive and festering fear emerging from every corner of society in this crazy period of time in which we currently find ourselves.
“It feels like the world is getting more and more paranoid. Or maybe I just am. Anyway, this song is my attempt to lean into that paranoia a little bit and try to find the humor in it,” he explains of the song’s inspiration. “There’s a simple, drone-like fingerpicking I’d heard on a few Townes Van Zandt songs, a funny kind of blues that makes you laugh and cry at the same time, so I channeled that into my own ‘Paranoid Blues.’ I guess it’s a little more melodramatic than Townes, but I’m kidding, I promise.”
His is an endearing story–the son of Soviet immigrants who lived most of their lives behind the Iron Curtain sheltered from American culture, Heifetz developed a deeply-rooted love of American folk music. “The American folk song was developed largely by migrants—some were new arrivals, others just drifting between states or coasts, but all were down-on-their-luck Americans staking all they had to seek bounty on blind faith,” he explains. “I can’t explain why I fell in love with this music completely on my own, at such a young age, but I know now why it means so much to me. It’s actually my own migrant heritage that gives me an entry point into this diverse American tradition.”
“I don’t mind the rollercoaster, I’m just scared of falling,” he sings–a simple observation, but a thought-provoking reflection at the same time. Our fear of what could happen often causes nothing to happen, keeping us caged and limited in our lives. Heifetz approaches the subject with humor, his rich vocal style perfectly suited for delivering a good story.
Without further ado, Mother Church Pew proudly presents “Paranoid Blues” from Elliah Heifetz: