Joan Shelley – “Bed In The River”

Less than a year after releasing Like The River Loves The Sea, Joan Shelley returned this spring with two new songs, the spare “Blue Skies” and the even more minimal “Between Rock & Sky.” Today she’s sharing another calmingly gorgeous new track.

Like Shelley’s other recent output, “Bed In The River” amounts to little more than acoustic guitar and Shelley’s warm, tender, folksy vocals. Max Porter, who wrote the lyrics, has also supplied the photograph that accompanies the song. On Bandcamp, it’s captioned like so: “A collaborative song. Max Porter wrote the words and Joan Shelley wrote the music around them. We offer it freely as a gift to celebrate the festival of Beltane, the height of spring, and May Day.”

They really showed out on this one. “Bed In The River” brims with meditative beauty thanks to Shelley’s casually brilliant delivery and the evocative words Porter has supplied her with. I mean:

In a bed in the river I met with a swan, and held it while it died
The swan was just one thing I carried along,
The bodies of old things, poisons and cloth,
This tar, this plastic, my constant resistance,
I am the river, my lover, my distance.

In a while, flee with me please, to the woods.
Hibernation envy, you suffer, my sweet,
You stare at the sky and I’ll stare at my feet.
This hedge, this sheet, your seamless resistance,
I am the river, to give you assistance.

Longtime Shelley collaborator Nathan Salsburg also plays guitar on the track. Together they’ve landed on something special here. Listen below.