Joan Shelley returns with new album, shares the song, 'Cycle'

From the album 'Like The River Loves The Sea' out Aug. 30, 2019. (NoQuarterRecords)

Joan Shelley will release a new album later this year called Like the River Loves the Sea, a collection of songs that, she says in a press statement, speak "of the inevitable and at times indifferent nature of love." The album's second single, "Cycle," and its accompanying music video premiered along with today's announcement.

"We were always good friends," Shelley sings over gentle guitar strums and fluttery, tremolo strings. "But we left it all on the floor / These strange cycle romances / Hide in the dormant soil." In Shelley's luminous sonic landscape, love is akin to the earth itself, perpetually shifting through a cycle of life and death. The video features delicate, sparsely-colored artwork and animation from Douglas Miller.

Shelley says the album overall "is built as a haven for overstimulated heads in uncertain times. …Whether it be a physical place or an idea, everyone needs a place of comfort. One where we can look out again from that place of calm and see how to best act and to be in an uncertain world."

Though Shelley recorded Like the River Loves the Sea far from her native Kentucky in Reykjavik, Iceland, she says she stayed close to the "many musical traditions that comprise what we now call Kentucky music," the core sound on her previous recordings. This is her first full-length release in two years, following her 2017 self-titled album and 2018 EP Rivers and Vessels.

Like the River Loves the Sea is out Aug. 30 on No Quarter Records. Artwork and full track list below:

1. Haven
2. Coming Down For You
3. Teal
4. Cycle
5. When What It Is
6. The Fading
7. The Sway
8. Awake
9. Stay All Night
10. Tell Me Something
11. High On The Mountain
12. Any Day Now

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

External Link

Joan Shelley - official site

Related Stories

  • Joan Shelley performs in the Radio Heartland studio If you're a fan of Joan Shelley, saying her new album is similar to her last one is a compliment. The main difference on the new one is Shelley got to work with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy as a producer. Joan Shelley stopped in the Radio Heartland studio to chat and to play a few songs from the new record.
  • Joan Shelley performs in the Radio Heartland studio Joan Shelley is from Louisville, Ky., but listen to her sing and you might think she's from England and her original songs centuries old. Shelley has had a busy year among two solo albums and a collaboration; nevertheless, she found time to stop at Radio Heartland for an in-studio session hosted by Mike Pengra.

2 Photos

  • Joan Shelley, 'Like the River Loves the Sea'
    Joan Shelley, 'Like the River Loves the Sea' (No Quarter Records)
  • Joan Shelley performs at Radio Heartland
    Joan Shelley performs at Radio Heartland. (Nate Ryan | MPR)