Christine Graves Asks Permission To Bend The Rules

The Ottawa singer-songwriter offers up a romantic prayer in her latest single & video.

Christine Graves wants to follow her heart on her new single and video Bend The Rules — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

An introspective acoustic-guitar ballad that features understated electric bass and mellow drums, the latest single from the Ottawa folk artist’s album Everyday Life is confessional, prayerful and self-aware, as Graves examines how hard, but beautiful, life and love can be:

“And if I could I surely would grow wings for arms and fly far away
Why do birds stop their song at night but sing all day?
God, let me bend the rules
Isn’t this why you made them?
We abide and then we break them then we stop
God let me bend the rules.”

The ballad’s melancholy-yet-wise resonance comes from the lyrical repetition, the hypnotic rhythm of Graves’ guitar, and the wistful but knowing expressiveness of her voice. Bend The Rules is a song that’s much more than the sum of its lively parts.

Part of that vividness derives from the fact that for Everyday Life, all of the songs were recorded live off the floor over the course of a year during the pandemic. Graves was working as a part-time frontline mental-health worker in a local hospital, and making music helped her manage her emotions and refuel her tank. But she clarifies: “It’s not an isolation album. That might come next.”

She enjoyed recording the album in a live manner. “These are my scratch vocal takes, and I almost titled the album Scratch,” she explains. “Working from the energy of live takes is a process I cherish, and it adds to the quality of the recording by creating a strong connection to the listener from a holistic presentation of the key musical elements.”

Graves has made music independently since the 1995 release of her debut Piece By Piece. She has received critical acclaim, recording three more albums of spacious and introspective contemporary folk on her label Brave Music between 1998 and 2006. She writes poetry and puts it into song, performing on guitar and ukulele and often improvising vocal solos. Occasionally her East Coast roots come to the fore, especially when she plays on her grandfather’s 100-year-old banjo ukulele from Nova Scotia.

Watch the video for Bend The Rules above, listen to Everyday Life below, and get more into at her website.