Rett Madison understands the power of shame. It’s fluid nature. Its persistence. How it eats through the hairline cracks of our psyches and links generations in cycles of destructive behaviors. Floods them with the lineage of inherited guilt. She grasps the hold of generational shame in a way I couldn’t fully understand until much later in my life. Like her I tried to outrun what was embedded inside of me with little success and only brief moments of relief.
When she sings,
“I got away as far as I could
But that didn’t do me any good
This hurricane is within me”
the strength of her poetic voice pulls shame from the coursing dark currents into the light where it loses its power. Its weight dissipated by the sun.
This song is intimately personal and expresses a tangle of emotions that she unravels into reconciliation with a certain kind of grief that feels inescapable. The raw wildness of her voice is controlled and she lets it break out exactly where it should. She expresses absolution with raw emotional intensity that is instantly relatable to everyone on some level. It cuts to the core of a kind of pain that we all carry with us. We’ve all lost something that we’ve loved and Rett Madison gives voice to that heavy relentless ache while at the same time demonstrating what it takes to move through it. What it takes to heal.
Shame is a River is a powerful song. Disarming and beautiful it follows a classic musical arc finishing in a crescendo of orchestration. In lesser hands it would come off as over dramatic but producer Theo Katzman plays it safe on this track allowing Rett’s powerful delivery to take center stage. At 23 it feels like Rett Madison is hitting her stride and it will be interesting to see what she does with the breadth of her talent. The generic singer/songwriter category seems far too limited and narrow for her lyrical and vocal abilities.