AUK’s Chain Gang: Joan Shelley “Teal”

Joan Shelley
© US Embassy Sweden licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence

In the last Chain Gang article, Viv Fish connected us to the excellent ‘Fire In The Sea!’, an album by Maria Shiel, which commences with the sounds of the sea breaking against the shore and features a couple of songs that directly reference waves and the ocean. The marine theme continues with a song from Joan Shelley’s 2019 album ‘Like The River Loves The Sea’. The album cover, which portrays a painting of a meadow in the foreground, sea in the middle and mountains in the background, describes visually the fresh and natural feel of this record.

The 12 songs on the album were primarily recorded during a five day sojourn in Iceland, where Shelley was accompanied by her regular collaborators, Nathan Salsburg and James Elkington, as well as a few Icelandic musicians who added violin, viola, cello, Wurlitzer and backing vocal vocals. In ‘Teal’ Shelley sees “the fresh air and wind and waves” getting set to “tear apart summer’s stuffy and stale rooms”. It’s a lovely song evoking how we hurt people when we are unable to keep our own counsel.

A teal is a small duck, as well as a dark greenish-blue colour, so who knows where AUK’s Chain Gang will take us next week.

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