Shannon Lay is a pollinator of intellectual blossoms. She carries granules from flowers to fields with her new album Living Water. Released on the Autumnal Equinox, Lay’s music balances light and dark as she connects the sunrise with the sunset, though they are boundaries apart. This is the depth that the harvest season deserves.
Listening to Shannon Lay is noticing water droplets in a spider’s web or appreciating the purple hues that sprout atop the wheat fields. The body of work that is Living Water is aesthetically rich and speaks upon loss so profoundly that one couldn’t help but accept every dripping word Lay spills. Dizzying fingers pick upon her guitar as her voice floats above the golden trees. Complimented by violin notes, the album dedicates an entire track, “Dog Fiddle,” to a serene moment of clarity. This is fresh air. This is exhilarating. This is exercise.
“The Moons Detriment”, a single released earlier this summer, gave rise to a foothill just before the mountain that is Living Water. “The Moons Detriment” was just a taste of the worldly desires Shannon wishes to encapsulate. Earthy lyrics sing of orange trees, river channels and warm summer nights, but grow beyond the individual perspective of what we see versus what we feel.
Lay’s music, no matter how bright and natural, cannot stop the changing seasons. Lay understands this, yet her organic emotions prove the inability to tame a hunger for rekindling relationships: one’s long dead or one’s that have yet bloomed.
She doesn’t know what she is doing, she doesn’t know how to cope and, above all, she doesn’t know when to let go, “should I forget you/ should I hold onto/ those precious days so long ago now/ I really just want to give my love to you/ but you’re far away now”. Begging for answers from an unforeseen source, Lay swoons as if she is buzzing away the last of the sun’s warmth. We’re bracing for the impending cold. But it’s only temporary, isn’t it? Our bones will warm again.