Moving Forward – Allye Gaietto Searches for Closure on ‘I Guess I Don’t’

Allye Gaietto promo photo landscape
Allye Gaietto processes a familial relationship on “I Guess I Don’t.” Photo – Rolando Ybarra

While mining past voice memos from her phone, Allye Gaietto discovered a future sense of closure.

The Detroit indie folk singer-songwriter’s surprise finding included the first verse of her latest cathartic single, “I Guess I Don’t.”

“I thought, ‘What is this?’ And then it made me cry listening back to it, and I was like, ‘Oh no, I have to finish it. I have to write the rest of this,’” said Gaietto, who started writing “I Guess I Don’t” in 2017.

“It’s about my relationship with my dad … I was processing this relationship in therapy and in life, and I was able to bring this song into it to push forward that conversation and express some things that were hard for me to bring up verbally. It’s like being able to open up your journal, and say, ‘Here, read it.’ You feel a little weird, but you also hope maybe someone will understand.”

Throughout “I Guess I Don’t,” Gaietto’s raw vulnerability and tender revelation instantly strike a chord with people experiencing family estrangement. Crashing cymbals, thunderous drums, tearful pedal steel, forlorn piano, hopeful electric guitar and melancholic bass unlock tightly bound emotional floodgates.

A spectrum of emotions quickly flow as Gaietto sings, “I’ve been writing the same song for years/And I’m not sick of it yet /I’ve been crying the same kind of tears/Don’t think I could forget.”

“A lot of parent-child relationships are estranged now. And it looks like for a lot of those people, there’s an active connection that they’re severing, like a lot of children are saying, ‘Do not contact me,’” Gaietto said.

“That was never my experience, which was more my parents got divorced, and after I moved away after college, we just stopped talking. Every once in a while one of us would call to check in on a holiday or birthday, and then it would just fall away.”

Gaietto continues to process those poignant experiences while singing, “Pretty sure you still have my number somewhere/Pretty sure you know how to dial/I’m not sure how much time I can bear/Not sure if you’ll still call me your child.”

“We just talked for the first time in a long time the other day,” she said. “The concept of closure … it’s never gonna be exactly what you think it is. I was getting to a point of just letting it go, and right as the song was gonna come out, I was like, ‘Oh no, we’re gonna kind of open this back up again.’”

For her first new material in over five years, Gaietto (piano) collaborated with a cast of star-studded musicians to record “I Guess I Don’t” at Royal Oak’s Rust Belt Studios in late 2019 and early 2020.

Spearheaded by producer Maurice “Pirahnahead” Herd, the track includes Jonathon Hackett (guitar, bass), Ron Otis (drums) and Paul Hilton (pedal steel). Together, they beautifully reflect Gaietto’s honest and somber acceptance of a strained familial relationship.

“I had approached Pirahnahead saying, ‘I’ve got some songs I’d like strings on, and I know you’re an incredible string arranger. Would you like to work on it?’ And he said, ‘Cool, send them to me,’” Gaietto said.

“I sent him two or three songs, and then he said, ‘Send me more. What else do you have?’ And later he said, ‘We’re doing the record together … I’m producing this record.”

I Guess I Don’t” also serves as the first single from Gaietto’s upcoming full-length album, Hoping for More, which will drop in May and feature 10 reflective tracks about growth, relationships and change.

“I am the type of person who loves to daydream, build worlds and see the future. And then having to come to terms with reality is a little harder,” she said. “It’s more like this quiet hope that I have to hold onto something to move forward in life.”

In the meantime, Gaietto is developing a new video for “I Guess I Don’t” to reflect the track’s familial theme. It will include a bunch of old family photos Gaietto purchased from others off Etsy.

“I bought tons of pictures of dads and children, and I bought this scrapbook. I’m gonna try to do a video where I’m creating a family photo album, and hopefully have some other stuff in there,” she said.

“I’m just gonna try to do it at home with my phone and my ring light and my partner handing me the photos. I’ve never made a video before for any of my songs.”

Gaietto also plans to release several new singles from Hoping for More between now and May. It’s a welcoming way to digest and celebrate an insightful batch of new material since sharing Some Kind of Heaven in 2016.

“While I was trying to figure out how to get this record finished, I was writing a bunch of new songs and wondering, ‘What is the through line from the very first EP to this record to this new stuff that I’m writing now?’” Gaietto said.

“There are these little bits and pieces that kind of stay. The sounds and arrangements are different every time, but if you take a step back from yourself, you can kind of see a portrait of a person and go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. That’s me.’”

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