Much has changed for singer-songwriter Alice Peacock since her last solo studio album, 2009’s Love Remains. She’s had three kids, moved to Cincinnati and…gotten 10 years older. “Feel the weight of the world on my shoulders / Am I wiser or am I just older?” she sings on “Dry Spell,” from her new collection, Minnesota. The record suggests that despite her “wondering what all is yet to be,” she has indeed attained a measure of wisdom.
She uses the word “midlife” but does not follow it by “crisis.” She views her current outlook more as an awareness of life’s fragility and an appreciation of its sweetness. “Being a parent, I don’t know that I could love any more than I do right now,” she says, “so I’ve also never been more vulnerable. I have everything to lose.”
Further evidence of this contemplative spirit can be heard on album closer “God Be Near Me,” about which Peacock says, “I wrote a hymn out of nowhere! I was sitting at the piano one day going, ‘Am I completely screwing this all up?’ And I found myself thinking, ‘Help me to stay focused on love.’” The lyrics ask, “Help me to surrender / And love the world the way you do / Now and ever after / And live in love the way you do.”
On Minnesota, Peacock explores an understanding of love, in particular, that transcends hearts and flowers, Sturm und Drang. “Resting in the Quiet” acknowledges “a glimpse of the divine” in unspoken eloquence: “We don’t have to talk about it / We don’t have to say a word / We can wrap ourselves in silence / Cause I’ve already heard / Everything your eyes are saying.”
A departure from romantic love, “Free and Wild” is a lullaby sung from the point of view of someone “with a love so fierce” it hurts. Peacock likens parenthood to “going through life with your heart outside your body.”
The album’s title track is a love song to her home state, where her family spends their summers. “I’ve lived in Illinois and Tennessee and now Ohio and I love them all, but there’s something about home.... As soon as I get back to Minnesota and hear the birds and smell the air, I feel, ‘This is mine; this is me.’” In the song she recalls sitting in “sacred silence,” watching “the electric light show playing wide across the sky.”
“Things feel very sacred to me at this time in my life,” Peacock confides. “You reach an age where you begin to lose people. The beautiful moments we have, like being out in nature up in Minnesota – ‘the moon waxing over the water, the loon calling to her lover’ – I keep telling myself, ‘Take it in because this is it.’”