Utne Reader is pleased to host the world premiere of the music video for “If Wishes Were Gold” by Sankofa, a modern string band that features Allison Russell (Po' Girl, Birds of Chicago) and Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Russell wrote "Wishes," and provides a sultry lead vocal on the track while adding acoustic guitar to compliment an understated harmonica by John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful, and the resplendent brushes of percussionist Sule Greg Wilson. The result is a warm glow engulfing a cool summer eve in the city:
Russell recalls the genesis of the song: "'If Wishes Were Gold’ is about as straight forward a song as I've ever written. There's no ambiguity to the particular kind of blues I am feeling there. I was ready to give myself to someone I loved and that person just wasn't ready the way I was READY. To some extent, it also stems from the vagabond existence I was living at that time. There's kind of a double yearning going on, not just for someone to love, but for a place that felt like home, ever elusive. The song was written during a sojourn in Chicago and came to life under the deft musical guidance of John Sebastian. We arranged and recorded it together at Nevessa Studio in Woodstock, N.Y.”
Describing the unique still photo quality of the video, Allison explains: "Rob Stegman, the videographer, decided he wanted to use still shots of me in a metropolitan setting for the video, and we saw it as an opportunity to pay tribute to the beauty and grit of The Windy City. Natalie Ginele is a fantastic Chicago based photographer and had always wanted to do a shoot by the train tracks off of Grand Ave. on the edge of West Town. We also did some shots in the vibrant Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, which are favourite haunts of mine. I hope some of the atmosphere of Chicago comes through in the video. I can't think of too many better places in the world to be blue."
Since the release of The Uptown Strut earlier this year, the album continues to generate acclaimed reviews with SSG Music remarking, “Sankofa offers a spontaneous, raunchy barnyard romp that bridges the gap between hillbilly country, gospel, and soul” while Press Plus 1 noted, “...the instrumentation complements the songs perfectly. The result is an album that is every bit as fun and mirthful as immersed in heritage and history.”
The digital single for "If Wishes Were Gold" will be released July 10 on Cleveland-based Kingswood Records.