Following the exuberant, traditional bluegrass of their last single, Organic Records’ Zoe & Cloyd return with a sweet, original take on another kind of tradition: the enduring theme of a parent’s love. Written and sung by the semi-eponymous duo of Natalya Zoe Weinstein (violin) and John Cloyd Miller (guitar), “Paper Crowns” is classically framed in a direct address to their daughter, even as its contemporary language and asymmetric rhythms reveal it as thoroughly modern.
The track is further testimony to the sensitivity of Zoe & Cloyd’s bandmates, Kevin Kehrberg (bass) and Bennett Sullivan (banjo), whose sympathetic playing offers just the right support for the song’s bright imagery of “paper crowns and dancing curls.”
“We started writing ‘Paper Crowns’ on our daughter's fifth birthday, a cold and rainy day in February,” notes Weinstein. “I was feeling nostalgic for her younger years, as five felt like a big turning point in her transition from toddlerhood to school age. Little did we know how much her life (and ours) would change in the coming year, and how the loss of early childhood innocence would be especially poignant as the pandemic set in. But no matter her age and come what may, she'll always be our little girl."
With its celebratory chorus — ”today you’re turning five years young, another ring around the sun” — and sharp eye for details (“muddy boots and tangled hair, pink and purple everywhere”), “Paper Crowns” is just the kind of personal, yet universal song to capture the timeless emotions of parents across the years and around the world.