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By Dawnlight

Joan Shelley
SELF-RELEASED

By Dawnlight is Joan Shelley’s message about the importance of humility and of being present in mind and heart. Backed by a local who’s who —members of Arnett Hollow, Maiden Radio, Squeeze-bot and The Galoots highlight her voice — Shelley outfits her 11-song plan with lyrics that turn the lens inward (“It’s Everywhere,” “Broken Again”), value emotional protection (“Falling Away”) and contemplate freedom (“Mary’s Leaving Song”). Along the way, she puts foolish, alcohol-induced vitriol in its place (“Funny by Monday”), which anyone who’s seen a Highlands bar at closing time can appreciate. But it’s her insight into the true meaning of status — reverence for one’s upbringing — that rises above all other subject matter (“Mama’s Restaurant”). Shelley didn’t crack the binding on this kind of songbook, but it’s hard to argue with how she turns the pages.