Track-by-Track: Andrea von Kampen Evokes Nature’s Wonder & Beauty in ‘Sister Moon,’ Her Spiritual, Soul-Stirring Third Album

Andrea Von Kampen 'Sister Moon' © Analise Schrader
Andrea Von Kampen 'Sister Moon' © Analise Schrader
Inspiring awe and urgency, singer/songwriter Andrea von Kampen takes us track-by-track through her third album ‘Sister Moon,’ a beautifully soul-stirring folk record that glows bright with nature’s wonder, warmth, and majesty.
for fans of Norah Jones, Iron & Wine, Matt Pond
Stream: “Cedar Street” – Andrea von Kampen




The spirit blows where it will; so can I get a little bit over here? A constant need to reach for the stars above you and me…

Andrea von Kampen isn’t just marveling at nature’s beauty in her songs; she’s using her platform to save the world she holds so dear.

It’s a noble pursuit, and one worth applauding as we sit in awe, taking in the sheer wonder, warmth, and majesty of the folk singer/songwriter’s third studio album. “Sister moon, will your tides rise up too soon?” she asks in her record’s breathtaking title track. “One day they will shake this trunk, and all the fruit will fall from the tree,” she foresees hopefully in “Mimas. “If there was a problem, someone would have already screamed fire… fire on the inside,” she sings in the impassioned “Cedar Street.” “I think the world began in love, and we are not a problem to solve,” she concludes in “A Fox, A Bird.”

We are so disconnected from the Earth in the year 2024; so far removed from those parts of the world that gave us and give us life, that continue to nurture us, sustain us, and maintain some 8.1 billion human lives every day. We are still destroying that world, decimating it through the pervasive use of fossil fuels and unsustainable deforestation, despite calls from the scientific community, despite shouts from activists for the past two-plus decades.

A soul-stirring record of human and natural reconnection, Sister Moon is a sweetly spellbinding exhale of glistening folk wrapped in raw passion and aching urgency. Through her art, at once so majestic and fragile, von Kampen reminds us of what we’re losing – leaving us to come to our own conclusions about our broken world, so desperately in need of healing.

Sister Moon - Andrea von Kampen
Sister Moon – Andrea von Kampen
The heat knows how to creep
Into an afternoon in early spring
So I asked that lady by the sea
If she was starting to worry
Sister moon
Will your tides rise up too soon
And I’m gonna move
To a northland where stars are in view
– “Sister Moon,” Andrea von Kampen

Released March 15, 2024 via Tone Tree Music, Sister Moon is a gentle giant ready to move the heart and stir the soul. Following 2019’s debut album Old Country and 2021’s sophomore offering That Spell, Andrea von Kampen’s third solo album finds the Nebraska-based singer/songwriter ruminating on all that’s good and right and true in the world – and all the man-made forces that stand in the way of those things.

Andrea Von Kampen © Analise Schrader
Andrea Von Kampen © Analise Schrader

“This record was formed out of a collection of ideas surrounding climate change, religion, sustainability, and the writing of Richard Powers,” von Kampen tells Atwood Magazine. “When I read ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers, I felt compelled to make an album with the same type of message and urgency. There’s a line I wrote in ‘Wonder’ that says, ‘tell a good story, change a person’s mind,’ and that was the guiding light of writing this album.”

 “While I was writing the songs I knew I wanted this album to feel more like a full band album than a solo singer/songwriter album with arrangements. These recordings came about more organically than my past record, we spent less time editing and getting the songs to sound perfect and went for a more natural feel.”

Sister Moon is the most focused album that I’ve ever written and the concept and writing works together to tell one overall story,” she adds. “That is not something I have done in the past and I think this album is a strong message that comes with time and wisdom.”

In describing her record, von Kampen lands on the words nature, acoustic, and spiritual. The album’s title – and the song it’s named after – are nods to Saint Francis of Assisi, a mystic who lived in a way that respected the Earth. “He would call the sun “Brother Sun” and the moon “Sister Moon,” and saw all of nature as connected to his humanity,” the artist shares. “I’ve always loved moon imagery and thought the feminine element of sister in the title was nice.”

Andrea Von Kampen © Analise Schrader
Andrea Von Kampen © Analise Schrader

Sister Moon is a record for dreamers; for lovers; for all those of us who’ve grown up, but retained that childlike wonder in our souls.

From the scene-setting poetry of album opener “Sister Moon” to the stripped-down grace and wise-beyond-its-years insight of “A Fox, A Bird,” von Kampen fills the airwaves with shiver-inducing moments of lilting folk and enchanting introspection. Highlights include (but are not limited to) the instrumentally lush “Juniper,” the charming and churning folk-pop serenade “Cedar Street,” the dreamy, intimately dramatic “Cottonwoods,” and the smoldering, softly-stirring “Robin” – a song which implores us to remember our inner children, and rely on them as a guiding light in times of tension and strife.

I wish I had a forest full of Junipers
I could breath and be easy for awhile
Why can’t we see the trees for the woods just once
Not worrying how to use it all
We spent the evening, sarks in the sky
And you told me that you
Would rather die
I begged you to listen, it’s not how it seems
But a mind can betray you
On all sorts of things
Let’s spread them all across
the northern hemisphere

And have countless goods to share
I want to lay sweetly in mother earth
Where juniper branches sway




“My favorite song is definitely ‘Such Love Does,’” von Kampen says. “It’s a 13th Century poem by Saint Francis of Assisi and the simplicity of the lyrics when repeated over and over feel so meditative and beautiful. I wrote this song on guitar with a simple rolling picking pattern and then my brother arranged the whole song to be played by string pizzacatos. I’m really proud of our collaboration and how this whole song turned out.”

She adds in a few of her favorite lyrics as well:

“The spirit blows where it will, so can I get a little bit over here?”
“A tree is just a road between the earth and sky”
“I’m scared of all the things they’ll miss,
December’s turning white,
the beauty of the forest,
the Ogallala still high”
“I think the world began in love,
and we are not a problem to solve”




Andrea Von Kampen © Analise Schrader
Andrea Von Kampen © Analise Schrader

All told, Sister Moon is a beautiful means of reconnecting with the natural world through sweet, soul-stirring folk songs.

Andrea von Kampen is touring Sister Moon throughout the months of March and April (tickets and more info here), with support from Lydia Luce, Molly Parden, Handsome Ghost, and Sarah Walk. Catch her on tour now, and get lost in the warmth and wonder of these ten awe-inspiring songs.

“I hope people feel more connected to their souls and to each other,” the singer/songwriter concludes. Experience her full record via our below stream, and peek inside Andrea von Kampen’s Sister Moon EP with Atwood Magazine as she goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her third album!

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:: stream/purchase Sister Moon here ::
:: connect with Andrea von Kampen here ::
Stream: ‘Sister Moon’ – Andrea von Kampen



:: Inside Sister Moon ::

Sister Moon - Andrea von Kampen

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Sister Moon

This song was inspired by my time on the New England coast while I was chatting with locals at the Newport Folk Festival. The festival that year had an eerie feeling as we all socially distanced and tried to make the best of it, but felt like every move we made could have a lasting negative impact. I was reminded how little control we had over the outcomes, how little control these people had over the sea level rising in the coming years, and I wrote this song when I got home.
Saint Francis of Assisi was a mystic who was deeply connected with the natural world around him, he felt so related to the world that he began to call the moon “Sister Moon,” and the sun “Brother Sun.” I felt that the only way to make sense of this mess of a situation we had gotten ourselves in as humans was to relate back to Saint Francis. We are here to care for the earth, not to destroy it. This song introduces a concept that runs through the whole album.

Mimas

A big inspiration for this album was the book, “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. This song outlines the story of one of the main characters, Nicholas Hoel and his family’s connection with the land they grew up on. Eventually, Nicholas leaves this land in Iowa with a woman he meets and they head out West to try and stop deforestation in California.

Juniper

Last Fourth of July I had a friend confide in me about a troubling time she was going through. We spoke about how heavy the world was feeling and how sometimes it seemed there was no way to combat all this darkness. Later that week I was reading about how the Juniper tree symbolizes the archetype of the “holy fool” in literature. This character can be strange to the outside world but ultimately they work for the greater good. Thinking about approaching life as a holy fool and holding the seriousness at a distance was liberating as we all strive to make the world a better place.

Cedar Street

“Cedar Street” follows the story of two main characters in the book “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. These characters find themselves in the same time and place concerned about the deforestation in North America so they travel out West together to live in the Mimas trees to prevent them from being cut down. The juxtaposition of the upbeat music and the frightening lyrics leads to tension in the song that reflects the current state of the climate change crisis. While many people are devoting their lives to this problem and feel the impending doom, others are happy to remain blissfully ignorant.

Cottonwoods

We moved to a house with two massive cottonwood trees when I was a little girl. Cottonwoods are the state tree in Nebraska and they are absolutely beautiful. I think the state made it illegal to plant more cottonwoods in city limits because of how messy they can be. So these two large mature giants were rare because they were planted decades before the law took place. Walking home from school I could see their leaves glistening in the breeze. Nebraska is a historically windy state, the wind can be absolutely brutal so these big trees provided much-needed shelter. I remember a common fall activity my dad created was called “stick pick up” which we’d all be forced to participate in every Saturday morning. The tree was so messy that all four of us kids would get out there and pick up sticks for an hour or so and all the cotton would fall in September and it’d look like it was snowing. But all of this was worth it for those gorgeous mature cottonwoods that I would swing from all summer long. When my parents sold the house the first thing the new owner did was cut down the trees. They weren’t sick or dying, they were just inconvenient to the new owner. I was devastated.

Such Love Does

This is a 13th-century poem written by Saint Francis of Assisi.

August

When late August arrives, I am over the summer. Nebraska is a climate that’s not for the faint of heart, we have brittle bone-chilling winters and hot as hell tropical-feeling summers without any body of water to regulate. And in my 24 years of living here, I have seen the boiling days of summer last longer and the winter snows come less often. And Nebraska is a tiny example of the much larger problem of climate change. Last year, I was in London during their heatwave and the trains were canceled. As I sat in my unconditioned hotel room trying to stay cool, I thought about all the changes our future generations will face. What happened in London will only happen more frequently, the Ogalala aquifer which provides water for crops in my state of Nebraska is projected to be nearly depleted in 50 years. This isn’t new news, but when you personally start to see the effects, it hits you differently. “August” wrestles with all of these ideas in a haunting lullaby of a song.

Robin

Richard Powers’ writing was a massive influence on this album and his book “Bewilderment” followed similar themes to “The Overstory,” and I found some natural overlap in album inspiration. There is this boy in the story who sees the world differently than others, and when he finds out about climate change he becomes absolutely obsessed with saving the Earth. This book really stuck with me. Children are so good at seeing what adults don’t want to. This is for all the kids who think differently.

Wonder

Part of diving deep into the writings of Saint Francis and other mystics forced me to deconstruct much of the religion I was raised with. This song is about setting aside fundamental and dogmatic beliefs and holding the world in wonder. Letting it be what it is and releasing fear and judgment.

A Fox, A Bird

My friend Bonnie died unexpectedly a few years ago. Bonnie was a lively, progressive and open-minded person who owned a bed and breakfast in Seward, Nebraska. She was one of the first people who asked me to play a live show in the town I grew up in. We had a lovely evening in her backyard and I remember thinking she was the coolest 60-year-old I had ever met. I think she’s one of the few people I’ve met who really saw that there was an art to living. This song is about living well and generously and being more like Bonnie.

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:: stream/purchase Sister Moon here ::
:: connect with Andrea von Kampen here ::

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Sister Moon - Andrea von Kampen

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? © Analise Schrader

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