Her family’s Holocaust-haunted past informs the new album from singer-songwriter Clare Burson
Growing up in Memphis, Clare Burson first heard about the Holocaust in school. Her grandparents were Jews from central and eastern Europe, but her mother warned her not to ask them questions about it. Burson heeded that warning until college, when a year spent in Germany prompted her to talk to her grandmother about her childhood in Leipzig, about her emigration in 1938, when she was 19, and about the fate of the parents—Clare’s great-grandparents—she left behind.
Those conversations led to more travel, including a trip to Leipzig with her grandmother, and they inspired Silver and Ash, a new album that weaves fragments from her family history into deceptively simple, often haunting, indie-folk songs. Burson, who now lives in Brooklyn, invited Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to her apartment to talk about her research, her music (influenced equally by Vienna and Nashville), and the twists of fate that mark her family’s past. She also sings a song. Running time: 23:07.