‘404’ is the inaugural release from UK-based Americana artist Abby Litten. Her first ever offering of music, it’s a beautifully constructed track that resembles something you’d expect deep into a distinguished career. In her own words, “it’s a big leap out of my comfort zone” – yet one that is sure to land her exciting opportunities moving forward.
Litten describes how she took inspiration from Noah Cyrus, Johnny Cash and folk-Americana legends Old Crow Medicine Show during the conception of ‘404’ – wanting to create the feeling of movement throughout the song. She executes this aptly; the rolling percussion and basslines give the track an uplifting feel, alongside twangy guitar riffs and the odd sweet backing vocal. There’s shades of Tenille Towne, though it’s a softer number with beautiful melodies and rousing energy.
The new artist from Bristol is venturing into the world of Americana and Blues. She’s always been a lyricist, she explains: “When I was younger I would print lyrics of songs I loved and try to understand the way the artist or song-writer was feeling when they wrote it.” Litten’s voice needs no underscoring – this single has her full vocal ability on show. Her rolling, soothing melodies – with a sprinkling of sombre undertones – make for a moving listen.
The lyrics speak of discontentment – the ongoing struggles of constantly having to make life changing decisions. Litten asserts her lyric-writing conditions: “It’s really important to me that everything I write is authentic to the way I am feeling at the time and the experiences I have had.” She reveals her rather modest creative process, saying “everything I write comes from what I am thinking about in the moment and a few chords on the ukulele. If I like it, it grows from there.”
Litten wrote ‘404’ while living in Ontario, Canada, at a time she wanted to be as far from home as possible. Despite her retreat from the familiarity of Bristol, she still “pined over the things I disliked when I lived in the UK.” It’s this sense of despondency that fuelled the conception of the song – the bitter feeling of not knowing what you want from life, Litten says. “Everyone has been through a period in their lives that they can relate this song to.”
With its touching message and stirring feel, ‘404’ is a well-conceived introduction to the music world. The solid mastering and production are courtesy of Hattie Murdoch, who Litten touts as incredible to work with in the way that she gave depth to the singer’s ideas.