TURN the DARK

by shelleyobrien

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about

Inspired by a love of the north and the recipient of a Canada Council Grant to conduct songwriting workshops, O’Brien spent the summer of 2012 living in a tent near Dawson City. This boreal setting gave her an iconic landscape to pan for musical gold, and the results were a collection of songs both driving and reflective. The northern sojourn formed the basis for Turn the Dark, her new album mixed by Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes).

O’Brien plays most of the instruments on the record, including bass, piano, electric ukulele and the percussive elements. Ukulele Superstar James Hill and his cellist-songwriter partner Anne Janelle added their own string arrangements to the mix, and Joel Schwartz (Great Lake Swimmers) played electric guitar and banjo.

The album is a rich glimpse into the nature of love, from the giddy upbeat spin of new love in Spring Drum, to the driving questioning of taking a chance in Truth Is. It dives into to the mysteries of love also: Snow in Shangri-La is a haunting wintery fable about loyalty and betrayal, reminiscent of Lana Del Ray.

The luminous anthem Juniper was is a small fable about life in the mountains of the north, while the enigmatic ballad The Only Way Out speaks of loneliness and communion with nature. The album’s namesake Turn The Dark highlights O’Brien’s signature tools of piano, electric ukulele and casio keyboard, as well as her distinct lyrical style, and is the record’s redemption song:

watch me turn this darkness inside out,
well the stars do burn, and the suns do shout.
Lift up the sky and shake it all out, and we’ll begin.

Layered, lush and often cinematic, O’Brien’s songs alight on the innermost branches of the human heart. O’Brien explores these intimate forests of our human mythology with delicate curiosity. The underlying pulses of solitude and longing pull at us, but they are countered with reprises of hope, gratitude and joy. O’Brien’s Turn The Dark is a call to love, in its countless forms.

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released May 14, 2014

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about

shelleyobrien Toronto, Ontario

Since the release of her debut album in 2009 and her sophomore record Vivarium (2011), Shelley O’Brien has taken her electric ukulele and her haiku lyrics to festivals in Helsinki, Melbourne, Tokyo and Rome, and has toured in Iceland, Holland, Japan and Germany.

O'Brien's elemental and lush third album, Turn The Dark, delves into the inner workings of the human heart.
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Track Name: Juniper Belle
sweetest juniper, low-lying juniper
tell me all the stories that you know
i'll hear you soon, I'm sure, sweetest juniper
whispering secrets through the yarrow

sweetest juniper, berries and wood
soon you will be swallowed by the snow
oh then juniper i'd stay with you if i could
sleeping still until the morrow
Track Name: Turn the Dark
here is the day, oh perfect day
just underneath the good night
take me to the wonder, day
with sorrows and light,
with sorrows and light

here is a heart, oh beating heart
underneath these old clothes
take me to the mountain, heart
in ribbons and bows,
in ribbons and bows

watch me turn this darkness inside out
well the stars do burn
and the suns do shout
lift up the sky and shake it all out
and we'll begin

here is a word, oh little words
underneath this tongue tied
take me to the question, word
in letters and signs

here is my heart oh beating heart
pinned to my sleeve where it shows
take me to the mountains heart
in ribbons and bows,
in ribbons and bows,
in ribbons and bows.
Track Name: Spring Drum
I know your heart so well
with a green-eyed welcome
sound the spring drum
ring the sweet blue bells
we're lit and then some
gonna make the world hum
ha-ooh

so come on, spin me round
til we're lost, til we're found
til our feet don't touch the ground

i know your face so well
with a green-eyed welcome
sound the spring drum
let's go, let's cast our spell
we're lit and then some
gonna make the world hum
ha-ooh
Track Name: Snow in Shangri-La
your fists closed full around our stars
this universe of ours
the love we made

nothing left but the breath I draw
in the snow in Shangri La

the fits and starts of what we feel
turned you to steel
to a switch blade

won’t turn coats with the hearts I draw
in the snow in Shangri La

what a mistake I didn’t make
what a chance you didn’t take

look with eyes of winter, see
everything once sweet
gets buried underneath

i’m unborn and ready for the thaw
in the snow in Shangri La
Track Name: Sugar Ship
sweet like sugar she went sinking sinking
into his salty water without thinking thinking
captain, oh captain where is she?
lighthouse keeper, can you find her for me?
there's nothing out here but the sea
Track Name: Do Me Wrong
you do me wrong, lover man
you do me wrong
a turn of phrase, a change of tune
this is not our song

i can't sing along, i can't sing along

you called for rain, weather man
you called for rain
watch me cry, hang me to dry
don't explain

there's nothing you could gain, nothing you could gain
la la la la la

i know you're in there, i know
i know you're in there, i know
i know you're in there but i let go.

can't make it right, lover man
can't make it right
you're taking off into the dark
like a red-eye flight

i'm the keeper of the light, the keeper of the light
la la la la la

you do me wrong, lover man
Track Name: Truth Is
feathers grow from where you kissed my back last night
in more than one way i've been contemplating flight
right now if you don't mind i need to close my eyes
so i can't see how far i'm falling

don't give me a single hour if all your clocks are wrong
don't give me a single line if all you've got's a song
again i find i press rewind and go back to last night
so i can see how far you're falling

i'm going up past the weather to the sky this time

the truth is, when you say my name
like you did, windows open wide
the truth is, i want you to come by
so i can really fly and i don't have to fly away

if i could have one thing of yours i'd take a smile
put it on a string and wear it 'round my neck a while
hanging there we could declare something is going on
maybe the world will see we've fallen

i'm going up past the weather to the sky this time

the truth is, when you say my name
like you did, windows open wide
the truth is, i want you to come by
so i can really fly and i don't have to fly away
Track Name: (there, there) Feather and Bone
There, There Feather and Bone
At our feet, you were air-born
You, you called in the dawn
Never knowing you were going, gone gone

We stand still as the oaks
And wonder, and wonder
Words pile up in our throats
What have you left us for?



There, There Feather and Bone
Come closer, crouch low
Here, here is the song
Of so long, so long

We stand still as the oaks
And wonder, and wonder
Words pile up in our throats
What did you take us for?

Where, where did our love go?
We’re broken, just so
Once, once we have begun
We’re on our way to done, done done.

We stand still as the oaks
And wonder, and wonder
Words pile up in our throats
What have you left us for?
What did you take us for?



There, there...
Track Name: The Only Way Out
nowhere to go
with a broken crown
and starlight chandeliers

lay me low
lay me down
let me disappear

the only way out of here is in
the only way out of here is in

if tongues could taste
the fleeting sweet
we'd be spoken for

tangled limbs
ripening
on the forest floor

in my hands the company i keep
in my hands the company i keep

the currents rush
the crescents pull
on our earthen pier

without us
the hours go
nothing else is clear
Track Name: Hold On To Your Heart
hold on to your heart
ruin has run aground
the world that spun your dreams
is a world all broken down

hold on to your heart
you're under stars unabandoning
bear the empty night
though you can barely breath

everything has done gone
everything goes, you go on, you go on

hold on to your heart
hold on to your heart
Track Name: Love:Madness
heavy breathes the hyacinth around me
in the blues of heaven's night she found me
what are we the sum of?
what are we the sum of?
love is the only madness

draw three letters on my skin
the possibilities will let these lights in
what is life a record of?
what is life a record of?
love is the only madness

weighted beauty, can't get enough of you
you're dazzling the sun above you
whatever will become of
whatever will become of
love the only madness
love the only madness

love is the only madness