JOAN SHELLEY graces us with her first new album since 2019 with THE SPUR, out now on LP & CD!

We’re always thrilled when JOAN SHELLEY releases something new, especially in collaboration with her partner NATHAN SALSBURG. Her new album, THE SPUR, is out NOW.

Get it HERE.

Read the New York Times’ splendid article about Joan HERE.

Shelley recorded the album about a year ago, when she was seven months pregnant with her first child. James Elkington produced the album, and it features appearances from Bill Callahan, Meg Baird, British novelist Max Porter, and Shelley’s husband Nathan Salsburg. “The Spur is the result of a period of opposite extremes: of intellectual hyper-connection and physical isolation,” Shelley said in a statement. “This album will forever be fused with the memory of our marriage, the birth of our child, and the intense joy despite the darkness.”

2019’s Like the River Loves the Sea was a pivotal release for Joan Shelley. Recorded in Reykjavik, adeptly produced by Elkington, and benefiting from the violin and cello contributions of Icelandic sisters Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir and Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir, the album forged a traditionally grounded yet avant-garde leaning, minimalistic yet meticulously crafted, and austere yet seductive sound. On The Spur, Shelley draws from the tones of Like the River while also referencing the looser and more rootsy sounds of Shelley’s earlier work.

On “Forever Blues,” Shelley asks, “Am I losing you?”, expressing the uncertainty that can often arise in a relationship. Her voice is unsurprisingly yet thrillingly crystalline, her melody supple and free-flowing. Instrumentation, as with Like the River, is understated but well-arranged, including a twangy guitar and rustic cello. “Home” potently conjures, as T.S. Eliot would say, a mix of “memory and desire,” Shelley immersed in nostalgia but aware that “home” is a more elusive concept for an adult than it is for a child.

Shelley and guest-baritone Bill Callahan combine their voices on “Amberlit Morning,” which features some of Shelley’s denser imagery (“When having’s done, death hands it to the quickening stalk / the verdant shoot, the outgrown shoe”). With “Like the Thunder,” Shelley mines her folk origins while forging a subtly prophetic tone, marrying the pastoral and portentous. Complemented by a spry drum part, backup voices, and strings, Shelley is amply accompanied, though her lead vocal never loses center stage.

If Shelley looks anxiously toward the future on “Like the Thunder,” “When the Light Is Dying” finds her in a reflective space and concerned with themes of loss and letting go: “I’m seeing ghosts … I sing along / when all my favorite stories are proving false.” Lia Kohl’s staccato cello adds urgency to the piece.

On “Why Not Live Here,” the singer requests that a nomadic friend cease wandering for a spell, even if it’s certain that they’ll leave at some point (“You can move / but why not live here a while?”). “Bolt,” on the other hand, addresses the need to adapt and reevaluate: “End of summer, sap settling into the roots again / to redesign, realign.”

On closer “Completely,” Shelley’s voice lags slightly behind the beat, giving the tune a languorous feel. “Just admit that you’re lonely / and just hold on to me,” she insists, bolstered by Nick Macri’s slinky bass and Sean Johnson’s brushy drum part. As “Completely” shows Shelley melancholic yet optimistic, stirred yet equanimous, so The Spur in its entirety brims with engaging paradoxes. To cite Laurie Anderson’s Buddhist teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Shelley has cultivated an ability to be both engaged and observational (to “feel sad without being sad”). She’s like a Zen poet with a diamond voice.

The Spur is in-stock now at Horizon on LP & CD, along with these other fantastic Joan Shelley releases!

  • Get Ready To Get Down @ The Marcus King Band Family Reunion, Aug. 24-25!!
    The Marcus King Band Family Reunion is back after a five-year hiatus, and this time, it’s set to go down right here in the blues giant’s home state! Offering a taste of the best the south has to offer, from music to Carolina BBQ, Marcus King has curated a two-day festival sure to bring […]
  • Brad Mehldau Double Hitter Out Now Via Nonesuch!
                  Grammy Award winning jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, Brad Mehldau, has two new albums, After Bach II and Après Fauré, out on Nonesuch Records!   Following 2018’s stunning After Bach, After Bach II continues Mehldau’s […]
  • TECHNICS SL-D202 turntable
    The semi-auto SL-D202 was introduced in 1981 as the replacement of the D2 model. They continued the tradition of employing a high quality direct drive motor and great sounding tone arm. The cue control was moved to the outside of the table for easier access. This turntable has been professionally […]
  • TECHNICS SLD2 TURNTABLE w/ custom paint job
    The semi-auto SL-D2 is the workhorse of the Technics family. Time has proven this model extremely reliable due to its high-quality direct drive motor and tone arm. This unit features a unique (and very handsome) custom paint job and has been professionally inspected, refurbished, lubricated and has […]
  • Yamaha 5-disc Carousel CD Player
    Tons of programming options and 18bit digital conversion (w/ 8 X oversampling)! Heavy duty unit and professionally inspected and refurbished!     […]
  • Thorens MM 008 Pre-amplifier
    Audiophile grade phono pre-amplifier, extremely clean sound and as reliable and well-constructed as they get! High versatility and ease of use: the MM 008 phono preamplifier can be adjusted to match the tonal characteristics of your pick-up cartridge, ranging from an MM setting to three different […]
  • Technics SLDD2 Turntable
    Technics direct drive quality at an affordable price! The great thing about Technics is they made quality affordable tables that were never “cheap”. This semi-auto SL-DD2 is one of the easiest turntables to operate. Simply move the tone arm over to start the record! This turntable has been […]
  • Technics SLD20 Turntable
    The semi-auto SL-D20 was the most popular of the p-mount turntables. They are ultra-reliable and feature a high-quality direct drive motor. This table has been thoroughly tested and is operating at 100%! Has been fitted with a like new audio technical stylus, Plug and play!       […]
  • Onkyo TX SR 876 Receiver
    Modern AV receiver with plenty of inputs and outputs and turntable READY with on-board phono pre-amplifier! Robust power for surround or otherwise at 140 watts PER CHANNEL! 140 watts x 7 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.05% THD. THX® Ultra2 Plus certification new THX listening modes for optimized […]
  • Haffler XL 280 Power Amplifier
    Legendary dedicated power amplifier, pure audiophile grade sound (No gain or tone control needed!), and near non-existent self noise! This is one of the very best amplifiers that Hafler made. It offers 145 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and is stable down to 1 ohm, offering 325 watts for short […]
  • Audio Research LS1 Line Stage Amplifier
    No tone adjustment needed, pure sound for the sound purist! The Audio Research LS1 Line Stage Amplifier is designed to accommodate music lovers who exclusively use line-level input sources — digital or analog — for the reproduction and enjoyment of music in their home audio systems. In technology, […]
    The BDP-S580 has built-in Wi-Fi and the best current lineup of streaming-media services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Slacker, and CinemaNow! […]
    The Technics SL-D30 is a fantastic direct drive turntable featuring the same sound specifications as the SL-D3 model (Which is usually considerably higher in price) […]
    This unit has been completely refurbished including lubrication and calibration! Includes vintage Audio Technica cartridge with OEM stylus! […]
    The Technics SL-D3 is the FULLY AUTOMATIC version of the SL-D2 which is regarded as the workhorse of the Technics family. […]
    The Technics SL-D2 has been considered the workhorse of the Technics line of turntables for decades. […]
    The Technics SL-D1 turntable is a FULL MANUAL version of the legendary SL-D2, this model has been regarded as a “tank” and “indestructible” among hi-fi enthusiasts for decades. […]
    The Sansui S2000 speakers have been highly regarded in the hi-fi community for decades and for good reason! […]
    Very nice Blu-Ray player, with remote! Enjoy 3D Blu-ray Disc movies in Full HD 1080p--also supports standard Blu-ray Disc movies in HD and upscales DVDs to near HD quality. […]
  • RCA 45-EY-2 45rpm TURNTABLE
    The RCA 45-EY-2 is an AC operated 3 tube automatic phonograph with mono amplifier and speaker.  The turntable is a 45 RPM, model RP-190-1, which holds up to twelve 7 inch fine groove records. Uses crystal pickup with medium output voltage. Also uses Qty(1) PM Elliptical 4″ x 6″ speaker. […]
    The BX-300 incorporates a wealth of original Nakamichi technology such as the Discrete Three Head system, a Direct Drive Asymmetrical, Diffused Resonance Dual Capstan Transport etc. […]
    This NAD 7020E is an absolutely rock solid receiver, 2x20watts and AM/FM receiver is perfect for bookshelf and medium sized speakers. To those familiar with the NAD 3020E Stereo Amp, this unit employs much of the same technology!       […]