At this point in her career, we would probably settle for a “pretty good” album from Joan Shelley. But no, The Spur continues an unbroken streak of masterpieces for the Louisville-based artist. It’s a record that features some of Shelley’s very best songwriting, bolstered by sensitive and occasionally surprising arrangements, ravishingly lush at some points, spare and spectral at others. The Spur is a wonder, from start to finish.
We caught up with Joan Shelley on a summer Friday shortly after the Supreme Court upended Roe Vs. Wade, a weird and unsettled time for everyone, but perhaps particularly for a female artist in Kentucky with a new daughter. We talked about making art in a pandemic, the importance of collaboration and the difficulties of doing anything else when you have a young child, as well as the pleasures of listening to music all the way through, the way it was intended.
On Joan Shelley’s fantastic new album The Spur, the singer/songwriter reaches out from a place of solitude, seeking connection. Rooted in Britfolk aesthetics, it’s an album that feels intimate but spacious too, all finger picked acoustic guitars, Richard Thompson inspired electrics, and sparse percussion.
Joan Shelley’s sixth lp, The Spur, is set to drop June 24th via longtime label partner, No Quarter Records. “Amberlit Morning”, a duet with Bill Callahan, is the second taste, accompanied by a video shot in Red Hook, Brooklyn by Cyrus Moussavi and Brittany Nugent.
The second song released from her upcoming lp Like the River Loves the Sea, Joan Shelley’s “Cycle,” feels suspended in mid-air, a tale of a romance that keeps finding back itself where it started. “The best music would be a conversation with the divine…” says Shelley. “These songs are partly that conversation, at times through the lens of lovers.”
Lagniappe (la ·gniappe) noun ‘lan-ˌyap,’ — 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus. One of our favorite albums of the […]
The songs of Kentucky singer/songwriter Joan Shelley have always centered on the beauty of subtle recognition, her lyrics filled with scents, changes in temperature, bird song, and slight rustlings. On her eponymous […]
Here in the west, it’s finally starting to feel like autumn. As the sunset comes earlier each evening, it’s been hard to get Joan Shelley’s beautiful Over and Even off the turntable. Deep […]
Joan Shelley’s latest, Over and Even , is her second for No Quarter Records and features Nathan Salsburg prominently on guitar as well as Will Oldam and Glenn Dettinger on gorgeous harmony. […]