Daniel Kleederman Contemplates Acceptance on New Single “I Won’t Be”

Grand Kid, the debut EP from Bartees Strange’s guitarist, arrives May 27.

Daniel Kleederman Contemplates Acceptance on New Single “I Won’t Be”

Grand Kid, the debut EP from Bartees Strange’s guitarist, arrives May 27.

Words: Mike LeSuer

May 09, 2022

While the title of Daniel Kleederman’s forthcoming solo EP Grand Kid references a moment in the songwriter’s past—before he toured the world as a guitarist in Bartees Strange’s band—when he would record under that moniker, the collection of songs goes much further back in time. Inspired by a return to his family’s home in Massachusetts during the pandemic, the record is a fluent translation of the constant rediscovery of fossilized memories upon digging through your childhood bedroom, while the lyrics focus more on the way these formative moments have shaped the events of Kleederman’s recent past.

The latest sample of the project arrives today in the form of the melancholic “I Won’t Be,” which meditates on acceptance in the face of a disappointing destiny. Channeling the tender intimacy of Sam Beam (perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s an Iron & Wine cover on the forthcoming EP) before the track blossoms into a subtly psychedelic guitar solo. The woozy number is inextricably tied to the visual it arrives alongside, which features grainy home-video footage of Kleederman performing the track—at times in front of a wall plastered with family photos.

“‘I Won’t Be’ is a personal resignation to the fact that I do have to just accept certain things; most pressing, in this case, a relationship that I knew held the near-future value of family-making, but was not destined for it, itself,” he explains. “I recorded the song and made the video at my childhood home in Western, Massachusetts, surrounded and affected by constant reminders of the making of family—many pictures-in-frames, as Tom Waits would put it.

“I recall writing this song,” he continues, “when there was a Garry Winogrand quote on the background of my phone: ‘There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described.’ I think this, in many ways, is the conclusion of the song and video—that there is something fundamentally trippy about acceptance. I feel it when I play it: that odd juxtaposition of the light, simple relief of clear truth, and the natural, heavy tenderness that comes with caring for and burying something important.”

Watch the video for “I Won’t Be” below.