Album: Cherry Marmalade (2002)
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  • In the opening track of her debut solo album, Kay Hanley of the Boston alt-rock band Letters To Cleo evokes the atmosphere of a brisk autumn day with changing leaves and a fuzzy red sweater she compares to cherry marmalade. She's speaking to someone who moved out of her life and into sunny Los Angeles, where she tentatively plans to travel to see him if there's still hope for a relationship.

    She was inspired by her friend Dave Gibbs of the band Gigolo Aunts, who abandoned the East Coast for LA - an unthinkable move for the Boston-loving Hanley… until she did the same thing years later. "That second verse is all about talking to somebody about the seasons and me being so tied to the idea of being in Boston and never leaving," Hanley told Songfacts in a 2022 interview.

    "Trust me, when I wrote that song, I had no plans whatsoever to move to Los Angeles. It was like, how can you live there? I'm happy to visit, and I did. But it was all inspired by Dave moving and me being like, why would you do that? Why would you leave Boston? And here I am 20 years later. I've been here since 2003. I say I can't wait to get out of here. I do want to go home eventually, but I'm not done with this place yet."
  • Gibbs' move to LA ended up being good for Hanley's career. He was working with directors Deb Kaplan and Harry Elfont on songs for Josie And The Pussycats and invited Hanley to come out and do voice work on the movie. She ended up providing the singing voice for the title character, played by Rachael Leigh Cook, on tunes like "Three Small Words."
  • Hanley re-released Cherry Marmalade in 2022 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. She reflected on the significance of the project, which marked a turning point in her life, saying, "It's a very emotional record for me. I wrote it at the end of Cleo and while I was pregnant with my daughter, and my life was changing a lot at that time. I made it with Mike Denneen who has now passed away. It's such a time capsule for me, just thinking of where I was and what was going on in my life at that time. It has a different resonance than a Cleo record. With Cleo, it's all five of us, and this one was a solitary experience and just really special."


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