Feeling Stranded: Linen Ray Reclaim Their Sense of Hope on ‘By a Thread’ Single


Rebekah Craft wears a white wide-brimmed hat with a black leather jacket and black-and-white flowered dress. Gabriel Craft wears a white button-up shirt with a black vest.

Linen Ray's Rebekah Craft and Gabriel Craft. Photo by Mike Frieseman.

Despite feeling overwhelmed and heartbroken, Linen Ray refused to give up hope.

The married folk-rock duo of Rebekah Craft (vocals) and Gabriel Craft (drums, backing vocals) tried to stay positive and calm while helping a loved one navigate a mental health crisis.

But over time, it felt like they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. There were moments when caring for another became too much to handle alone.

“Trauma will sometimes cause a person to bury their pain and live in denial. For us, it felt so completely overwhelming,” said Rebekah Craft, who hails from Ypsilanti, but is based in Nashville, Tennessee with Gabriel Craft and their family.

“We weren’t exactly living in denial, but when life comes down on you so hard and you feel helpless, you sometimes lose the ability and energy to express your thoughts and feelings. We were grieving and in a dark place.”

In that dark place, Linen Ray reclaimed their sense of hope and channeled their emotions into songwriting. What resulted is “By a Thread,” a vulnerable new ballad that serves as a plea for help and understanding.

“I was amazed to even have been able to write this song at the time. As a songwriter, I often find myself expressing my deepest emotions from the very core of my being,” Rebekah Craft said.

“This is why writing music is the best kind of therapy. I started this song while crying in my bed one night. I had written a verse and some melodies. The rest of it came together the day we met with [co-writer] Laureen [Flynn Smith].”

Surrounded by somber piano and acoustic guitar, Rebekah Craft sings, “I’ve been keeping it together for such a long damn time / I can’t help myself, feel like I’m losing my mind / Just when I thought I surrendered / Denied myself the sweetest wine / I’ve been keeping it together.”

“So many people don’t want to open up and talk about their struggles. Then, sometimes when they do, they experience a lack of support and feel misunderstood or judged,” she said.

“It’s a very isolating feeling. We want people to provide compassion and comfort to listeners in a way where they can feel seen and understood.”

By the second verse, the mood of “By a Thread” shifts from despondency to optimism as uplifting synth, violin, electric guitar, and drums console Rebekah Craft.

She sings, “Been walking on a tightrope, ooh, losing all my grip / My world’s in pieces, don’t know where they all fit / Just set my sights on survival / Praying life is done throwing hits / I’ve been keeping it together.”

“We want to remind people that they aren’t alone in their struggles, and it’s OK to ask for help,” Rebekah Craft said. “No matter how hard it gets, we have to try to hold on to hope and believe for a better tomorrow.”

Coincidentally, Linen Ray met Pennsylvania-based co-writer Laureen Flynn Smith, who helped the Crafts further process their situation and achieve their musical vision for the single.

“She’s a lyricist with such an incredible ability to listen and then capture and release what needs to be said. As we began to share some of the things we were going through, she mentioned it sounded like we were holding on by a thread,” said Rebekah Craft, who met Flynn Smith through a mutual friend.

“It’s like when she said that everything came together and brought so much clarity. ‘By a Thread’ helped break our hearts open for the pain to be released.”

After writing “By a Thread” with Flynn Smith earlier this year, Linen Ray recorded it this past summer with Joseph Hunter Duncan.

The Nashville producer/multi-instrumentalist added indie-pop production filled with layers of moody electric guitars and distant vocal echoes. Together, those sleek sounds created feelings of desperation and uncertainty throughout the track.

“We happened to play ‘By a Thread’ one night while we were all hanging out in [Duncan’s] studio. Hunter seemed to connect with the song,” Rebekah Craft said.

“He quickly picked up a guitar and started strumming along. Before we knew it, we had worked out the song structure and recorded a rough demo that night.”

Meanwhile, Gabriel Craft developed a drumbeat pattern that conveys an unsettling and almost unbalanced feeling—like a person stumbling through life.

Nashville’s Jessica Heit also added violin while U.K. songwriter-producer Patrick Jordan, who worked with Linen Ray on their 2022 album, On the Mend, played piano and mixed the track.

“We met Jessica, who’s originally from Michigan, in Nashville at a songwriting event hosted by Spire Entertainment. We hit it off immediately and have been friends ever since,” Rebekah Craft said. “She’s classically trained and has been playing violin since the age of eight.”

Today, singing and performing “By a Thread” continues to provide Linen Ray with much-needed relief and renewal.

“At the end of the song, we sing, ‘I’m holding on / I’m holding on / Holding on by a thread.’ This gives me hope every time I sing it. It’s in my spirit now,” said Rebekah Craft, who’s been married to Gabriel Craft for 20 years.

“Like no matter what happens, I won’t give up. I won’t let go. Our loved one is doing much better now, but there’s a long road to healing and recovery ahead.”

Looking ahead, Linen Ray plans to release new material in 2024, including an Irish tune in March and a four-to-five-song EP in collaboration with Duncan.

“We wrote [the Irish tune] while visiting the Ring of Kerry in Ireland a couple of years ago,” Rebekah Craft said.

“Gabriel also has been working on a new project with Hunter. They’ve been writing and tracking songs for an upcoming modern alternative-rock album. They plan to start releasing singles this coming year.”

Lori Stratton is a library technician, writer for Pulp, and writer and editor of strattonsetlist.com.