Songs about California, the love of it, the loathing of it, the returning, and the leaving. I’m a lover of all the California songs. This morning, cup of coffee in hand, “Awaken and Allow” by Shannon Lay starts playing. Discovering new music is my love language, my kink, one of my most favorite of things.
“Awaken and Allow” by Shannon Lay
Song of the Day
Shannon’s music are described as indie, folk, punk – or perhaps a blending of all three. “Awaken and Allow” starts out with Shannon’s voice unaccompanied by any instrumentations. Her voice clear and crisp, melodic, melancholic, and beautiful. I’m reminded of This Mortal Coil, Dead Can Dance, and Jane Siberry. I’m taken back to days in the early-to-mid 90’s, the upstairs Wilshire apartment, filling up journal pages in the middle of the night.
When the music starts there is a build, strong but soft, consistent, like a heartbeat, a blood pulse. As the song ends I feel a soaring in my chest, like flying, like leaving, like finally finding free.
“Awaken and Allow” by Shannon Lay – from the album, Geist (2021)
“I have to get out of California.
The days go by like smoke in the wind.
Oh to grow.
Oh to discover.
The nature without,
the nature within.”
The music video, set in an alley I swear I’ve walked through in Silverlake, full of broken down boxes and graffiti. Shannon in an old Toyota Camry, the license plate reading ALLOW.
The elevator with the flyers tacked up, both of them saying “Allow the nature that is you.”
At the bottom of stairs coming out of the sand. Street art up the sides, the ocean behind. It sets so many familiar feelings alive in me. Memories, places I’ve been. I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but I know where these moments are.
The waves, then plugging in with the band. From alone to together. I feel this song in a way that makes me want to keep playing it, repeat, again and again.
Though I’m not longing to leave California, I’ve felt that so strongly before. Right now I feel like all the changes I need to make are inside of me, internal. Not the state I live in, but the state I’m in. Somewhere in this song it makes perfect sense to me.
And then the next song begins.
Click HERE to hear more of Shannon Lay’s music.
Shannon is from Redondo Beach, California and has recorded music with the band Feels. She left the beach city for the city of Los Angeles in her late teens, where she’s been making music ever since.
She’s described her album, Geist (where the song “Awaken and Allow” is from) “as “Geist feels “…like a window – or a mirror – into possibilities of the self and beyond. Shannon Lay’s new album is tender intensity, placeless and ethereal. It exists in the chasms of the present – a world populated by shadow selves, spiritual awakenings, déjà vu, and past lives.” – from SubPop
That feeling of déjà vu, I feel it in the song, in the video, and in the way it makes me feel seen, and unseen, all at once. This is exactly the song I needed to hear today.
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