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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 18.0° F  Fair
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MadTracks: 'Nothing to Lose' by Jeremiah Nelson (video)

There's something about the music of Jeremiah Nelson that makes the world seem like a vintage home movie, one with the rich colors and sun-stained glow of Super 8 film. A video for "Nothing to Lose," a track from the local singer-songwriter's new album, Drugs to Make You Sober, taps into this aesthetic and explores it visually, using found footage from decades-old trips to beaches, amusement parks and Disney World.

Created by local videographer Ryan Heraly of Manic Eye Media, the piece immediately recreates the hazy, sometimes ethereal sensation of dreaming and remembering. A cerulean sky imprinted with the outlines of fir trees whizzes by, as if being viewed from a car or perhaps a time machine, while the sonic landscape sparkles with high-pitched guitar noise. Every now and then, a picture of a person will invade the scene for a split second, hinting at a narrative, then vanish into the clouds.

As lyrics emerge, so does a new set of images, first flashes of a carnival ride, then footage of children laughing as they're pushed in a rowboat. As the music paddles into the epic, lo-fi territory of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, nodding, at times, toward Richard Ashcroft, Beck and even James, the pictures begin to tell a story, one the words themselves might not have revealed.

As Nelson sings about falling out of love, a pretty, pregnant woman smiles from a park bench. A melancholy refrain of "I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace" takes on a whole new meaning when paired with images of this character, and later a dad lovingly tossing his son into the air. Nelson's persona isn't just a heartbroken loner on the mend, he's a man with cold feet, a restless soul and a painful case of denial.

The video's most stunning juxtaposition takes place in its last few seconds, the prelude to a crash-and-burn ending that's as beautiful as it is painful.

Watch it and be moved.

More music by Jeremiah Nelson are available on his Bandcamp page. Hear the song live as he performs "Nothing to Lose" and other songs from Drugs to Make You Sober at a release party at the Frequency on Saturday, March 26.

MadTracks highlights songs performed by local musicians. All content is provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.

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