Alternative folk musician Luray produced an intimate glimpse into the end of a relationship with Dig, her sophomore album and first release since 2015. Out July 26 on 6131 Records, the record details the end of musical mastermind Shannon Carey’s marriage through a series of gorgeous folk songs that, at first, seem simple, but upon closer listen, are effortlessly-woven depictions of love and loss.

unnamed.jpgThe majority of Dig does not feel depressed, despite the intensity of its theme. Twangy banjo melodies are laid against musician Shannon Carey’s clear, ringing vocals, driving drumbeats and low bass lines. Tracks like “Green and Golden” show this off: while the melody is beautiful, Carey howls heartbreaking lyrics like, “I was leaving on the lights/I was listening for your call.”

There is often an ache to the music on Dig, however, and understandably so. There’s a touch of anger on tracks like “Dig,” which opens the record and contains a low, dark bass feature as Carey sings, “Hands on my hips and I’m slow to admit when I’m wrong/I learned it from you,” and Carey’s turmoil is palpable on “Animal,” with its almost-heavenly harmonic vocalizing that overlaps until it’s impossible to pick out any one sound.

Though “Mountain” falls in the middle of the album, its overlapping banjo melodies and beautifully clear vocals mark it as a highlight of the record. Its melody is surprisingly upbeat considering its lyrical content, however; Carey sings about the mystery of nature (“The reason for the mountain, it isn’t mine to know”) and the ending of a relationship all at once (“If this is our last, we gave it all/Here in the space, in the rise and fall”). Near the end, a sudden plunge into distortion and fuzz adds depth, and the remainder of the song is a touch chaotic, featuring rhythmic, marching drum beats and overlapping, unintelligible vocals. It’s a gorgeous, thoughtful end to an already-moving track.

As a whole, Dig is remarkably intentional. Carey carefully places instrumental sections (or even an entire instrumental track, with “Hive,” a stunningly haunting interlude) to allow listeners to contemplate the weight of losing a lover. Its straightforward nature, too, breeds vulnerability and authenticity, lending Carey’s story even more emotional weight.

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Photo by Jake Cunningham.

Dig is nothing short of captivating; its beauty and vulnerability are disarming, and its folky melodies are catchy while Carey’s smooth vocals are pleasant. For those who, understandably, just can’t get enough, Carey will embark on a series of tour dates to end the summer and transition into the fall – find more information here. And in the meantime, find Dig on all musical platforms and stream and purchase the album on Bandcamp below.

Originally published on Indientry on July 30, 2019.