Premiere: Brittain Ashford Dwells in Soul-Stirring Melancholy on “Hand Wringing/In the Wings”

Brittain Ashford © Jacki Paolella
Brittain Ashford © Jacki Paolella
A soul-stirring melancholic exhale, “Hand Wringing/In the Wings” aches with a heavy weight as singer/songwriter Brittain Ashford dwells in the depths of longing, nostalgia, and regret.
“Hand Wringing/In The Wings” – Brittain Ashford




A tender turbulence lies at the core of Brittain Ashford’s latest single.

It’s the inevitable tension between what is, what was, and what could have been; who we are and who we wanted to be; how life turned out for us, and how we expected it to go. Regret hurts even in small doses, and here Ashford steeps her full self in it: A soul-stirring melancholic exhale, “Hand Wringing/In the Wings” aches with a heavy weight as the singer/songwriter dwells in the depths of longing, nostalgia, and regret. Beautifully orchestrated and utterly exposed, it’s a raw reckoning of visceral emotion – a soft, yet incredibly hard-hitting eruption from the artist’s innermost sanctum.

Trotter - Brittain Ashford
Trotter – Brittain Ashford
For a long time I was stalled
Wringing my hands after the final curtain call
I didn’t know who I was at all
Just needed some time,
I wanted a choice
I don’t want to fight this
My entire sad life I’ve been nothing but cautious
And I trusted you too much, we melted our rings
While I was waiting in the wings
Just needed more time, wanted a choice

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Hand Wringing/In the Wings,” the poignant third single taken off Brittain Ashford’s forthcoming third album, Trotter (out May 19, 2023 via Misra Records). A record processing grief and loss while navigating life’s unpredictable waters, Trotter is a solemn, dark, and deeply moving collection of songs.



Ashford describes it as centered around “finality and making regrettable decisions.” The Seattle-born, Brooklyn-based artist wrote it while processing of her father’s death, a time that also saw her “unceremoniously” (her words) calling off an engagement. The album’s first two singles “Could’ve Done You Better” and “Hold on Tight” find her channeling that grief into brighter and more buoyant sonic pastures – “Hold on Tight” could easily pass for a sweet springtime serenade, were it not for lyrics like, “My entire life I tried to do it right, but I f***ed this up completely” – but the same cannot be said of its third single.

“Hand Wringing/In the Wings” is the uneasy moment of calm in the eye of the storm. A gorgeous, heartrending ballad, the song finds Ashford surrendering to her malaise in a sense – accepting that things didn’t work out the way she wanted them to; that she made mistakes along the way that she’s come to reconsider and regret. There’s a heartache and a helplessness to her attitude; she can’t go back and change the way things are. “I don’t want to fight this,” she sings in the song’s cathartic chorus. “My entire damn life I’ve been nothing but cautious. What’s it got me?” Heavy feelings flow freely through her, spilling out in an unfiltered and unabridged account of life off the rails.

And I don’t want to fight this
My entire damn life I’ve been nothing but cautious
What’s it got me?
And I trusted you too much, we melted our rings
While I was waiting in the wings

“I really need to praise Mark Robertson for his work on this album,” Ashford shares. “Mark is one of the finest and most talented humans I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with. My favorite part of this song is the string ensemble response to the reeds in the middle of the track: a big swell that falls to a quiet flutter, like anxiety transcribed for cellos. Mark’s thoughtful and dynamic arrangement (he’s also playing the strings) really makes the song for me.”

Brittain Ashford © Jacki Paolella
Brittain Ashford © Jacki Paolella



Ashford’s “Hand Wringing/In The Wings” music video enhances the song’s sense of turbulence underneath the surface. Directed by Kelly Mena and choreographed by Reed Laplau and Justice Moore, the visual finds Ashford playing the role of a stage actress – alone with her thoughts at first, then performing with other dancers, and then alone again. Solitude reigns supreme as the weight of her emotions hangs heavy in the air.

“I really didn’t think this video would get made,” Brittain Ashford tells Atwood Magazine. “Ambitious in scope, utilizing only two takes and many moving parts, I thought it seemed unlikely that I would find the time and cash to make it happen. On the surface, the video is a direct reference to my time working in commercial theatre with a strong nod to Godard’s iconic Bande à part dance scene. Lots of little easter eggs for fans, including elements from Great Comet and Ghost Quartet. This project received funding from The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre.”

Whether you’ve been tormented by your own regrets recently, or simply love a raw, melancholic exhale, Brittain Ashford is sure to evoke an emotional response deep within. Stream “Hand Wringing/In The Wings” exclusively on Atwood Magazine.

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:: stream/purchase Hand Wringing/In The Wings here ::
:: connect with Brittain Ashford here ::
“Hand Wringing/In The Wings” – Brittain Ashford



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Trotter - Brittain Ashford

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