Jaunty strains of a B3 sway in the opening measures of Mark Erelli’s ode to the joys and satisfactions of working on a relationship in his soulful “Handmade.” The song develops slowly, with spare vocals in the verses, that mimic the care that goes into making a piece of furniture by hand or building a relationship with the same care. The verses blossom into soaring choruses, on which Erelli is joined by Maya de Vitry, that celebrate the joys of working together to craft a life and love. In the first verse Erelli sings of making a piece of furniture by hand, and in the second verse de Vitry takes the lead vocal to sing about growing a plant from seed and looking forward to the harvest, no matter how meager, will see the couple through to spring. By the middle of the song, the vocals, guitars, and organ swirl around each other, spiraling into animated rhythms that invite us to dance joyously.
Erelli reflects on the song: “I’ve always felt that if I take my time on something—really focus on each step of the process and don’t get too far ahead of myself—the end result would be stronger and more worthwhile. This applies to a craftsman at any trade, but the analogy holds for a relationship as well. It’s the difference between buying something versus making or growing it yourself, which is nearly always more rewarding. This track is from the Blindsided sessions I did in Nashville a few years ago. I didn’t conceive the song as a duet, but it seemed like it would work that way and Maya de Vitry’s distinctive voice provided proof of concept.”
The effervescent soul of “Handmade” vivaciously affirms that anything worth doing takes time and patience and care and love.