Gordi’s Beautiful Song “Sandwiches” Captures the Powerful Weight of a Loved One’s Absence

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson
A stirringly heartfelt, raw, and moving expression of grief, “Sandwiches” celebrates a life while mourning a loss with the sort of stunning bittersweet grace that only Gordi can do best.
Stream: “Sandwiches” – Gordi

I can’t help but well up with tears as I listen to Gordi’s achingly beautiful new song. Sometimes a loved one’s absence is too overwhelming to bear: We feel their loss in every action we take, and each move we make. Their absence from our lives is itself a heavy presence, hanging down on us as we move through countless minutes, hours, and days without their input, their guidance, their wisdom, or their love.

For those reeling from a recent loss, a warning: Gordi’s “Sandwiches” will trigger your heartache, tapping into and peeling back your innermost emotional core. A stirringly heartfelt, raw, and moving expression of grief, “Sandwiches” celebrates a life while mourning a loss with the sort of stunning bittersweet grace that only Gordi can do best.

Sandwiches - Gordi
Sandwiches – Gordi
Your cold hand was underneath as you slept
We made sandwiches and then
they said you’d left

I read words that someone
wrote as we cried

And I tried to think of all the
times you told me you were tired

Released February 25, 2020, “Sandwiches” arrives on the heels of Gordi’s January song “The Cost,” released in support of the Australian Bushfire Relief efforts. The first new recording since Gordi’s acclaimed, triple j Award-nominated 2017 debut album Reservoir, “Sandwiches” is an immediate and arresting reminder of everything we have long loved about Australian musician Sophie Payten.

Around the time of her last album’s release, Atwood Magazine wrote, “Reservoir finds Gordi digging even deeper into her emotional cavities, pushing her already unique artistry ever further.” Speaking to a different kind of absence, the album’s poignant lead single “Heaven I Know” is as much about dealing with disconnect and loss, as it is about growing older and accepting adulthood’s compromises and the challenges you can’t win.

Gordi music © 2020
Gordi music © 2020

Three years later, “Sandwiches” finds Gordi reckoning with a very direct and more immediate absence: The loss of her late grandmother, whom the artist describes as “a great feeder of people.” According to Gordi, she and her mother were passing around sandwiches to friends and family at the hospital when “someone called out that she was gone.”

For Gordi, “Sandwiches” is a direct reference to where she was and what she was doing when she lost the matriarch of her family.

To her credit, the song captures not only the artist’s exploration of her own grief, but also the love and affection she has for her late relative. Strong drums surge over fuzzy electric guitars as Gordi sings, her voice solemn and brimming with feeling: She says as much through her words, as she does through her somber, sedated delivery.

You’d be on the phone
Every time we’d get home
And I think I thought you’d be there
Wherever she goes
Wherever she goes

For as heavy a topic as death can be to explore or discuss, “Sandwiches” finds a balance between two polar ends of the emotional spectrum: The heartache of absence and loss, and the joy of love and a life lived. Gordi employs her falsetto to express this other side of the tracks, rising with the words, Wherever she goes” in such a way that injects light into what could otherwise be a very dark song.

She honors and cherishes her grandmother’s identity in the second and third verses, bringing the audience on a familiar trip down memory lane:

I have tried to recall
how your cashmere sweater smelt

I’ve spent countless days
recounting your hairspray and how you felt

“Oh, I’ll let you go” is what you’d say to me
And now it’s I that has to let you go
to where you have to be
You’d be on the phone
Every time we’d get home
And I think I thought you’d be there…
Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson

When I think of you
a movie-reel of moments plays

We’ll be in the car or after mass on Saturdays
You’ll be walking down the driveway,
you’ll be in your chair

You’ll say “See you round” or “Say your ‘Three’”
And now you’re everywhere

Gordi’s third verse is her most evocative, hitting home with tremendous force. “When I think of you a movie-reel of moments plays… And now you’re everywhere.” Those who have experienced such an intimate, irrevocable loss can instantly relate to these words.

This is the true musical genius of Sophie Payten: Through “Sandwiches,” Gordi puts a voice to the daily heartache and constant reminder of those whose memories we hold near and dear.

For this writer, it’s my mother: It’s been nearly two and a half years since I lost my mom, and not a day goes by that I don’t see her or hear her voice. Listening to “Sandwiches,” I’m reminded of our daily catch-up calls and her endless wisdom; of the way she’d say my name, or laugh at my stupid jokes. I’m also reminded of my final moments at her bedside; of our final conversations together; of the way she would look at me when she could no longer speak, glassy-eyed but present none-the-less. I remember squeezing her hand, and feeling the pressure on my palm as she squeezed back.

Gordi’s “Sandwiches” gives me the gift of these beautiful memories, resurrected once again: It allows me to remember my loved ones for the best of times and the worst of times together. It is a tribute of love and a vessel for experiencing the immediacy and intensity of grief – which, like love, is an indescribably potent energy.

And now it’s I that has to let you go to where you have to be…

Produced with her long-time collaborators and Bon Iver production duo Chris Messina and Zach Hanson, “Sandwiches” was made at Gordi’s family home in Canowindra, Australia – “an old cottage littered with some of [her] favorite pieces of musical arsenal combined with some flown in from Eau Claire, Wisconsin,” according to publicity. Speaking of her grandmother, Gordi expressed, “Her whole life was in Canowindra… We made [“Sandwiches”] in a house that’s a hundred meters from her house.”

However “Sandwiches” ultimately moves you, know that this is a special, special song. Gordi could not have returned with a more striking reminder of why we fell for her in the first place. Fragile yet lush, hauntingly intimate yet soaringly passionate, Gordi’s “Sandwiches” is a meaningful, beautiful musical manifestation of grief and love. Stream the new song below, and stay tuned for more as Gordi ramps up to release her sophomore album in late 2020!

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Stream: “Sandwiches” – Gordi

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Sandwiches - Gordi

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The Heavy Heart of Gordi’s “Heaven I Know”


:: Gordi Tour Dates ::

^ with Bear’s Den || * with Of Monsters and Men
Wed. Feb. 26 – Brussels, BE @ Forest National ^
Thu. Feb. 27 – Amsterdam, NL @ AFAS Live ^
Wed. April 29 – Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater *
Tue. May 5 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE *
Wed. May 6 – Detroit, MI @ Fillmore *
Tue. May 12 – Kansas City, MO @ Midland Theatre *
Wed. May 13 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom *
Thu. May 14 – Austin, TX @ ACL Live Moody Theatre *
Sun. May 17 – Guadalajara, MX @ Corona Capital Festival
Tue. May 19 – Mexico City, MX @ El Plaza Condessa *
Fri. May 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery *
Wed. May 27 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Lawn *
Fri. May 29 – St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheater *
Sun. May 31 – Miami, FL @ Fillmore Miami *
Tue. June 2 – North Charleston, SC @ North Charleston PAC *
Thu. June 4 – Harrisburg, PA @ Riverfront Park *
Fri. June 5 – Cooperstown, NY @ Brewery Ommegang *
tickets & more info @ gordimusic.com

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