Video premiere: Anna Connolly, ‘Jewels’

Anna Connolly (Photo by Claire Packer)
Anna Connolly (Photo by Claire Packer)

Perhaps the most important message conveyed by Anna Connolly’s debut single has nothing to do with the song itself. It is the message of persistence, of never giving up on your dreams, of not letting age define you. Connolly is doing just that on her song, “Jewels,” from her inaugural album “After Thoughts.” 

While her musical career may be in its infancy, Connolly’s relationship with the music scene is a well-versed one nearly 40 years on. From sneaking into L.A. punk shows as a young teen to watching Minor Threat practice in the basement of her mother’s house, she also grew up in and around the legendary Washington, D.C., punk scene. 

Despite this exposure, she didn’t feel compelled to write and record until an age well past what most people would dare consider trying such a thing. The divorced mother of two teenage sons explains the reasons for her delay: “It just didn’t cross my mind to try to play when I was younger. Maybe I was rebelling against my rebellious friends. But I know for sure that my younger years of being steeped in music ranging from the Circle Jerks to the Cure have directly contributed to the songs I write today.” She continues, “It truly is an amazing experience for me that I’m playing music today, after so many years — in D.C. It feels like I’ve come full circle — like I’ve come home in some unexpected and profound way.”

Her delivery is stark, haunting and occasionally blunt, punctuated by that old ’90s warhorse, the tension/release bridge, with phrasing that borders on the unconventional. Heartbreak is the common thread that weaves its way through “After Thoughts.” There is a powerful vulnerability in the songs, still sharp despite her well-worn heart. They speak of a woman who has learned some hard truths, is unwilling to make compromises and has emerged scarred but smarter.  

Unlike most neophytes, Connolly’s punk-rock cred gave her the opportunity to call upon a host of collaborators for her album, among them Joe Lally (Fugazi), Devin Ocampo (the Effects, Faraquet, etc.) and producer Don Godwin.

“This taste of regret should be gone, but it lingers,” Connolly sings in “Jewels,” and directors Drew Hagelin and Corynne Ostermann capture that flavor in the video for the song.

||| Watch: The video for “Jewels”

||| Live: Anna Connolly opens for the Messthetics at Zebulon on April 17. Craig Wedren also opens. Tickets.

||| Stream: “Jewels”

||| Also: Stream the album “After Thoughts”