Armed with a fiddle, a standup bass, and a guitar, Lula Wiles are pushing the boundaries of Americana, crafting narrative lyrics that are just as detailed and complex as their tightly woven harmonies and wistful strings that recall an older time. The Berklee-educated trio creates rich narratives paired with folk undertones and a touch of blues guitar. Their songs intertwine the old and the new, calling upon traditions in the genre—images of heartbreak, evocations of nature, references to the bottle—and uniting them with a staunch certainty only this trio can portray.
Their new video for “Anymore” is an acoustic take on the inward-facing, introspective track from their self-titled debut. Spare and reflective, the black and white music video strips Lula Wiles to their most basic parts—and the result is brilliant.
Lula Wiles filmed the video for “Anymore” in one take, with no edits. “Every edit can suck a bit of life out of the song, so the benefit of a single-take recording is that it sounds alive, vibrant, and spontaneous,” fiddler Isa Burke said.
This isn’t the first version of “Anymore.” The original comes from 2016’s Lula Wiles and is decidedly grander, more expansive: warm guitar pitter patters along with Ellie Buckland’s description of the rain hitting the sidewalk, a healthy amount of reverb swelling the vocal harmonies to fill every nook and cranny left in a broken heart.
But the video for “Anymore,” even as it begins, is softened. Buckland asks the videographer, “Are we ready?” with a smile, Burke and bassist Mali Obomsawin exchanging expectant looks. The three nod along to their playing, surrounding a single microphone in front of some house as cars drive by and people pass in the background. As Buckland sings “I don’t really think about you and me anymore,” it hits on a more sentimental level than its album counterpart—while the more electric version makes the line feel like a declaration, in the video, it sounds more uncertain. The trio’s harmonies layer on the word “anymore;” where on Lula Wiles this feels defiant, in the video it has the gravity that comes with heartbreak.
“We started performing this song before making our album, so the stripped-down version came first,” Burke said. The band used their studio time to add more elements to the song—“bigger sounds,” as Burke put it. Playing around with tunings on her fiddle, the song shifted to better fit a live performance, with Burke incorporating elements from the electric guitar part into her playing.
And she doesn’t have a favorite between the two versions of the song. “Our goal with both arrangements is really to evoke emotion at the same moments, it’s just the number of elements involved that varies,” Burke said. “On the album, the big drum moment at the top of the third verse is pretty epic, we think. But we like the sparseness and deliberateness of the stripped-down version, too.”
The black and white video lends itself to sparseness, forcing the viewer to pay full attention to the extreme care Buckland, Burke, and Obomsawin pay to their part in “Anymore” and highlighting the emotional drain the lyrics discuss. Director Korby Lenker suggested the use of black and white and Burke says it fits the moody vibe of the song, though the band wasn’t considering that at the time they were filming.
Throughout the video, all three band members exchange glances—sometimes smiling, always with a moment of eye contact. “I find that making eye contact with my bandmates helps me stay mindful and present in the music, and it helps me avoid going on auto-pilot, which is particularly important when playing a song that we’ve played hundreds of times,” Burke said. “It also helps us lock into a groove together. As a band, we’ve been thinking a lot lately about pre-show rituals and modes of communication onstage, so that we can all be in the same headspace while playing. Eye contact is a big part of that.”
“Anymore” wanders from similes comparing a lover’s kiss to summer rain hitting the sidewalk to self-assured statements of the good lover they’ve found now, all with the confident, passionate combination of strings that Lula Wiles looks to thoroughly enjoy playing in their music video. At its core, the song is honest, and that honesty is reflected in their performance—Obomsawin leans into each note she plucks, creating the bedrock for Burke to bow intently over and Buckland to croon her heart out.
“Anymore” says what most of us are afraid to admit when we’re heartbroken: “I don’t even know what I’m looking for, but I don’t want to think about you and me anymore.”