(Art by Claire White)


You said, “Love is touching souls”

Surely you touched mine


Spilling out slowly, line by line, the feelings seep in. Powerfully palpable, NYSSA’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” (ft. Michael Peter Olsen) begins with a breath in a misty morning meadow, inhaling an eery, airy fog that swirls on the edge of a dense forest somewhere in Canada. The opening notes of subtle bells drift along with a tonal synth, floating in a cello’s hum. We are in the midst of NYSSA.


Big, airy, spacious, the sound could almost be heavenly if NYSSA’s artform wasn’t so heavily rooted in earth. As she materialises, her voice is strong, robust yet bravely vulnerable — like nature itself — as she delivers the opening line, sounding like a scene from some arthouse Greek tragedy:


Just before our love got lost you said

“I am as constant as a northern star”

And I said, “Constantly in the darkness

Where’s that at?

If you want me I’ll be in the bar”


Love isn’t always easy, but that’s how NYSSA likes to make it. She goes to those places; she comes from those haunts. Her dynamic performance evokes the feeling of dedication, determination. Whatever the course, whatever the cost.


Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine

You taste so bitter and so sweet

Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling

And I would still be on my feet


As NYSSA belts out the chorus with comedy and heartbreak, it feels as though she’s singing from a place where her feet no longer quite touch the ground. She hovers on a note or two, looking out and into you, the trill of her voice sending chills through your blood, bumping up against your skin as it turns all bodily partitions into that sweet, gentle substance that can sometimes be tasted and always be felt.


I’m frightened by the devil

I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid


NYSSA is certainly not afraid, and it’s not because she’s imbued our national drink, that liquid courage. Some may drown their sorrows with “A Case of You” but NYSSA pushes past the pain and shows us that even when your love is lost, you can still find company at the bar.