Joan Shelley – “Blue Skies”

Not that long ago, Joan Shelley went all the way to Iceland to record an album. Last year, the Louisville folk singer and songwriter released Like The River Loves The Sea, an absolutely gorgeous record that featured contributions from Will Oldham, James Elkington, and Nathan Salsburg. (Shelley also played and sang on I Made A Place, the Bonnie “Prince” Billy album that Oldham released last year.) These days, though, Shelley is stuck at home like the rest of us. But she’s still making music.

Today, Shelley released a tranquil, beautiful new song called “Blue Skies.” She sings and plays guitar and percussion on it. Nathan Salsburg, Shelley’s regular collaborator and partner, plays electric guitar. Birds are credited with vocals. It’s a soft, minimal, vaguely bluesy folk song with some stunning multi-tracked harmonies. The lyrics seem to allude to our current quarantined state without quite spelling it out: “Stay inside a while and take your time/ Thankful one thing is free/ The sweet air that the blue skies/ That the blue skies bring.” Listen below.

“Blue Skies” is actually the second song that Shelley has released on Bandcamp during the current pandemic. Last week, Shelley also released the mostly a cappella “Between Rock & Sky,” which she calls “a song for the collective songbook of the great shut-in of 2020.” Here’s that:

You can buy both “Blue Skies” and “Between Rock & Sky” at Bandcamp.