Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker Gives “Sadness as a Gift,” New Single From Latest Solo Album

Adrianne Lenker's “Sadness as a Gift” is a warm, rustic strummer, enlivened by Josefin Runsteen’s violin, about the irrevocable end of a relationship | Germaine Dunes, courtesy of the artist

One of the best working songwriters alive, Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker has announced her first new solo album in four years, along with a set of 2024 North American tour dates.

Lenker’s sixth solo album Bright Future (March 22, 4AD) is preceded by her new single “Sadness as a Gift,” our second preview of the LP after December’s “Ruined” — the former feels something like a funhouse-mirror reflection of the latter. While “Ruined” was a somber, slow-moving, occasionally surreal piano ballad about being utterly overwhelmed by love, “Sadness as a Gift” is a warm, rustic strummer, enlivened by Josefin Runsteen’s violin, about the irrevocable end of a relationship. The contrast between the two tracks — one icy yet lovestruck, the other cozy but heartbroken, each embracing both sides of life’s coin — befits the eponymous concept of “Sadness as a Gift.” 

Over luminous acoustic chords, Lenker sings, “Leaning on the windowsill / You could write me someday and I think you will / We could see the sadness as a gift and still / feel too heavy to hold.” Her collaborators, Nick Hakim, Mat Davidson (aka Twain) and Runsteen, lend both backing vocals and instrumentation to the track, with Hakim’s piano providing a particular poignance as Lenker cuts to the core of the song’s lost love: “You and I could see into the same eternity / Every second brimming with a majesty.” The song ends abruptly, its melody unresolved, as if to underscore its loss — “The seasons go so fast / Thinking that this one was gonna last / Maybe the question was too much to ask,” Lenker admits.

Bright Future is the Big Thief powerhouse’s first solo album since 2020’s acclaimed Songs and Instrumentals. Recorded in fall 2022 at woodland analogue studio Double Infinity, the record features co-production and engineering from returning Lenker collaborator Philip Weinrobe, as well as the aforementioned contributions of Hakim, Davidson and Runsteen. It also boasts the original recording of beloved Big Thief track “Vampire Empire,” off their critically adored 2022 double album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You.

Tickets to Lenker’s North American tour are on sale now. You’ll find those dates below, along with the Bright Future tracklist. You can watch the lyric video for “Sadness as a Gift” above, stream the track here and preorder Bright Future right here.

Bright Future Tracklist:

1. Real House

2. Sadness As A Gift

3. Fool

4. No Machine

5. Free Treasure

6. Vampire Empire

7. Evol

8. Candleflame

9. Already Lost

10. Cell Phone Says

11. Donut Seam

12. Ruined

Adrianne Lenker Tour Dates:


21st – Big Ears Festival, Knoxville, TN, USA


19th – The Black Box, Galway, Ireland* (SOLD OUT)

20th – St. Canice’s Catherdral, Kilkenny, Ireland* (SOLD OUT)

21st – Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland* (SOLD OUT)

24th – Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, UK+ (SOLD OUT)

25th – The Hall at Aviva Studios, Manchester, UK + (SOLD OUT)

27th – Barbican Centre, London, UK= (SOLD OUT)

29th – Bristol Beacon, Bristol, UK+ (SOLD OUT)


2nd – Le Trianon, Paris, France +

3rd – Cirque Royale, Belgium, Brussels +

5th – The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ (SOLD OUT)

6th – Admiralspalast, Berlin, Germany @

7th – Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany @

10th – The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark @ (SOLD OUT)

11th – Berns, Stockholm, Sweden @

12th – Chateau Neuf, Olso, Norway @


9th – The Paramount Theatre, Austin TX, US %

10th – The Paramount Theatre, Austin TX, US %

12th – KiMO Theatre, Albuquerque NM, US %

13th – Rialto Theatre, Tucson AZ, US %

15th – The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles CA, US @

16th – The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles CA, US +

17th – Fox Theatre, Oakland CA, US @

20th – Revolution Hall, Portland OR, US @

21st – Revolution Hall, Portland OR, US +

22nd – Paramount Theatre, Seattle WA, US +

25th – The Depot, Salt Lake City UT, US @

26th – The Mission Ballroom, Denver CO, US @

28th – Chicago Theatre, Chicago IL, US @

29th – State Theatre, Minneapolis MN, US @


11th – Academy of Music Theatre, Northampton MA, US ^

12th – Boch Centre Shubert Theatre, Boston MA, US

13th – Boch Centre Shubert Theatre, Boston MA, US

15th – L’Olympia, Montreal QC, Canada ^

16th – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON, Canada ^

19th – Kings Theatre, Brooklyn NY, US ^

21st – The Eastern, Atlanta GA, US ^

22nd – Venue TBC, Durham NC, US ^

23rd – The Anthem, Washington DC, US ^

25th – Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA, US ^

26th – Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA, US ^

* w/ Ellie O’Neill

+ w/ Nick Hakim

@ w/ Twain

% w/ Steve Fisher

^ w/ Suzanne Vallie

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