In patterned silk and braided hair, Margot Ross smiles softly at us as she playfully plucks the strings of a ukulele, exuding a Midwest sentimentality as she sings folk songs over a communal fire. Or at least, that’s how I pictured her after hearing her latest single “Fan the Flame.” Like the three singles that have come before it, the track solidifies Ross as an indie-folk “one to watch,” warming my cold, dead heart with her simple celebrations of harmless failings in life and love.
The video for “Fan the Flame” was shot entirely on Super 8 film, using handheld stylings to elicit the feel of 90s teenagers stealing the family video camera on a Saturday trip to the local lake. That may read too wholesome for you and I, a newly jaded generation who can barely hope for a stable future, let alone a carefree summer by the beach. But something about Ross’s music pulls us away from our own cynicism—the fully realized entity at the start of an indie coming of age film emerging and beckoning us, the dejected protagonists, through the woods to a clearing. We wonder, who is this person? Why have we not noticed her before? And yet we follow her willingly, trying to pick up her calm confidence, her affinity for friendship, her shameless invitation to love and laugh despite this horrible fucking world we live in. Ross encourages us to let our undone hair down, throw on our overalls, meet our friends and call our mother on the way. This is the world and music of Margot Ross, and it’s as daringly welcome as the hit of a joint on a hazy summer day. You may think, am I allowed this? Is there still an unproblematic good to be experienced? But Ross asks us instead, why not? As she puts it, over soaring strings and the rush of a top-down ride along an open highway, “I can’t lose.” Suddenly, we find ourselves saying it with her. Check out the video for “Fan the Flame” below.
You can listen to Margo Ross over on Bandcamp. Her new album, PRAIRIE LIFE, is out May 28th.