Premiere: The Depth & Discomfort of Mary Bryce’s Elegant “Lemon Trees”

Lemon Trees - Mary Bryce
A soothing, carefully-crafted confrontation full of intense intimate emotion, Mary Bryce’s “Lemon Trees” grapples with seeing a lover’s former love.
Listen: “Lemon Trees” – Mary Bryce


I’ve learned a lot in the past year or so about sitting with discomfort.

There’s something unsettling about the calm, musical serenity of Mary Bryce’s sophomore single. A soothing, carefully-crafted confrontation full of intense intimate emotion, “Lemon Trees” grapples with seeing a lover’s former love and the many thoughts and feelings that follow.

Lemon Trees - Mary Bryce

Lemon Trees – Mary Bryce

You don’t know that
I know what you did
But I do…
Did you keep his attention, too?
Did you hold it inside of you
The way I do? The way I do?

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Lemon Trees,” Mary Bryce’s sophomore single and her first song release 2019. A current member of Austin, Texas band SMiiLE and former frontwoman for the band Dreamboat, Mary Bryce creates a form of “easy listening” music that is, in truth, the farthest thing from easy that there could be. The folk singer and songwriter cites an impressive range of influences – from Weyes Blood, to Joni Mitchell (“because is there even anyone else? I’ve listened to her so much she’s become part of my genetic makeup”) – in her music, which blends strong vocals with provocative cellos and violins, lilting piano, and so much more.

Produced by Bryce’s SMiiLE bandmate/leader (and boyfriend) Jake Miles, “Lemon Trees” finds centers around the artist’s expressive vocals and her ability to bend emotions at will. Bryce has a background in jazz, classical voice, and piano, and her many talents are all on full display in this song.

It’s like if Lucinda Williams and Joni Mitchell had a love child that was raised by Ella Fitzgerald.

“It has definitely been a tremendous lesson in being thoughtful about every single choice that writing music presents,” Bryce says of her music. “This is actually the second song I’ve released. At this point in time — it feels significant: I’ve learned a lot in the past year or so about sitting with discomfort, and I think this song addresses that— the tension of love, what you think you know vs. what you never can.”

Lemon trees, they don’t
Make a sound when the
wind passes through in the bayou
I see canyons and states
more than you, I assure you
in the near-crystal clear
in the bathroom at the bar
you wash your hands
and I know from your glance
that you know who I am
and I know who you are
and what you did…

With such a sweet, head-turning arrangement, “Lemon Trees” takes directly from one of those moments most of us hope we never have: “It came from the moment of looking in the mirror in the women’s bathroom at a bar and seeing a lover’s old lover — and the range of emotion that it has inspired in me — ranging from sorrow to empathy to fear to neutrality, even though you don’t really talk or say hello. That’s you don’t know that I know what you did,” Bryce recalls.

There’s a stirring weight to the scenario “Lemon Trees” recalls – one that takes time and considerable strength to digest willingly. This song is not for the faint of heart, but those who enjoy harder questions and understanding the whys and whats of discomfort will surely appreciate the emotional depth and disarray Bryce portrays here.

Stream “Lemon Trees” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and dive deeper into the artist and her many ventures – which include an interview series, a self-published cookbook and more – on mary-bryce.com!

Listen: “Lemon Trees” – Mary Bryce

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Lemon Trees - Mary Bryce

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com