Perhaps there has been no song played more often over the past several weeks than Prince’s “Purple Rain”. Tributes to the late music icon have sprouted up everywhere from Somerville to Santa Clara, and his 1984 epic has been the song of choice for grieving fans. When Boston’s Nate Leavitt takes the stage this Saturday at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge for the latest round of OldJack’s Last Saturday series, he just might bust out his own “Purple Rain” — an original composition titled “I Can Breathe Again”.
The track, another gem of a cut off his recent Nate Leavitt & The Elevation EP Someone Send a Signal, isn’t a single, per se, but we can’t help but imagine it becoming a staple of the musician’s live performances. On “I Can Breathe Again”, Leavitt, who lists everyone from Prince to Dokken’s George Lynch as his own personal guitar heroes, has taken his ghost-folk sound to dramatic new heights.
“I was feeling contradictory and hopeless while writing this one,” he tells Vanyaland. “Sort of like taking inventory of all my insecurities while virtually looking in the mirror. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either. I tend to face off against who I am mostly in song. Yet in the end, no matter how bad the situation is, if what you’re going through doesn’t send you to the next life you can move on.”
With the lyrics in place, Leavitt needed to dig deep to align the music with the message.
“The music needed to match the depth of the lyrical content,” Leavitt adds. “A slow, drawn out march leading to the realization of being able to ‘breathe again.’ I love the way producer Dan Nicklin conducted the band to gradually intensify, reaching a frenetic, cacophonous moment at the very end. The second half of the song has me soloing for around two-and-a-half-minutes over a swirl of instruments and backing vocals.”