Keep in touch with VOXX

Music joan-shelley

Published on November 20th, 2019 | by voxx


Joan Shelley – Like The River Loves The Sea

The Kentucky folk singer-songwriter’s fifth album runs a compelling course…

The safe-for-drinking purity of Joan Shelley’s voice could lull you into thinking that this album is a calm, still place, somewhere to sit in a drowse, maybe listening to the insect buzz that introduces ‘When What It Is’. As might be expected from an associate of Will Oldham and Jeff Tweedy, however, the singer and guitarist’s songwriting isn’t that uncomplicated.

The silt at the bottom of the songs on Like The River Loves The Sea soon stirs itself up, brief whirls of turmoil glittering to the surface. “Any day now, it could be your last one,” she sings ambiguously on ‘Any Day Now’, while Teal’s unresolved ending and domestic discomfort creates an eerie tableau, evenly pitched between Judee Sill and Judy Collins. Oldham, meanwhile, appears on the Appalachian fable of ‘Coming Down For You’ and the mayfly romance of ‘The Falling’, another small cloud on these songs’ clear blue horizons.

Yet the drama is so precise, so delicately rendered: Shelley, who recorded this follow-up to her self-titled 2017 album in Iceland with long-time collaborator James Elkington, is never tempted into anything histrionic, as singer or writer. The imagery is elliptical and elegant, brief enough to be stitched into samplers yet hinting at whole novels. Strings flutter at the edges of ‘Cycle’, a song about a love that “hides in the dormant soil” like a moth; a piano gently stirs the curtain at the windows of ‘When What It Is’. Beautiful and inscrutable, it runs very deep indeed.

- By Jake White

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑

  • Welcome to VOXX Online

    voxx_coversVOXX is Lincolnshire’s number one volunteer-led magazine, running both quarterly print editions and ongoing digital content, giving young people the opportunity to develop real journalism skills.
    READ MORE about how you can get involved.

  • This Month’s Theme

    To be announced…

  • Advertise with VOXX

    Want your business to be exposed to the whole region and beyond? Advertising with VOXX might just help you.

    We publish a new issue of this ever-growing youth magazine quarterly in print, with ongoing content on this website throughout the year.

    We offer a range of sizes to suit every price range and we’ll even design the artwork for you at no extra cost!

    Contact us for more information about this excellent value opportunity.

  • Latest


  • Connect with us!

    Facebook: VOXX
    Twitter: @voxxmagazine
    Instagram: voxxmagazine
    Pinterest: VOXX