Last updated on March 19, 2021
There’s a great moment at the end of the trailer for The Other F Word, the documentary about punk rockers who find themselves twenty years later as fathers. Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, who looks about as punk as is physically possible, says, “Sometimes you think about, ‘Oh, should I have tattooed my forehead?’, you know?” This is about the most visceral way possible to say: parenthood changes you.
So, it is with no further adieu that I give you a song about a child growing up that made me, as a parent, absolutely joyful and weepy at the same time. I’ll just let you listen to it.
Okay, so, now that all you parents (and some of you children) out there are toast, here’s some music criticism for the rest of y’all out there.
Sonja Midtune’s “Wildflowers” is a delicate acoustic tune that navigates the space between folk, country, and adult alternative with admirable skill. Midtune’s voice is a lovely, lilting voice that keeps this grounded in folk. The subtle yet effective arrangement lends a country air to the proceedings: the twangy guitar is just right, the shuffling drums land emotively right where they should, and the atmosphere is delectably warm.
The adult alternative arm of this is in the lyrics, which focus on the changing relationship between a daughter and a mother over time. This could be presented in any genre, but the delivery of the chorus has an early ’90s level of earnest emotionality to it. It’s the sort of song that channels Sheryl Crow for people who don’t like Sheryl Crow. Ultimately, this is a beautiful, touching song that lands on every level. Especially if you’re a parent. Sniffle.
We were lucky enough to get a moment with Sonja Midtune to talk about the song.
What is the story behind this song? What inspired you to write it?
Last year, a friend of mine was talking about her daughters and said, “They’re my little wildflowers.” I thought about this analogy, how little girls grow up no matter what, whether they are met with resistance or smooth sailing, just like wildflowers can grow through a crack in the concrete. With the help of my co-writer, Candice Kelly, I connected my own story to the theme, and the song came out!
This song has a gentleness to it that is really gorgeous. What kind of vibe were you trying to achieve with the recording of this song? Did it come out sounding like you thought it might?
Thank you. It came out even better than expected. I didn’t want it to sound too singer-songwriter or country, and it sounds like a perfect mixture between songwriter/Americana/folk to me. We focused on natural sounds and added a little Mellotron for some flare. I really love it.
Was this recorded before the pandemic started or did you have to navigate recording during COVID?
During! I worked with a producer named Justin Glasco, and he made the process safe and slick. Absolutely no complaints! We used apps like Audio Movers to do remote sessions. I only went in the studio once to do my vocals and guitars. We were tested and used all safety protocols.
How was it working with Justin Glasco? What kind of input did he provide on this song in particular?
Absolutely fantastic. Justin kept us both inspired throughout the entire process. He played a big part in this song. He heard my demo and thought we should change the cadence to the phrases to have that one shorter measure. When we did this, the song popped out even more. It gave it a little more country flare, but we evened it out with the instruments. We had a blast!