Allysen Callery – Prince’s Pine
Reverb Worship – 2017
Slow down and take a listen to New England singer-songwriter Allysen Callery is back with an outstanding new release, a bright sounding recording with flashes of welcome darkness. The five songs on “Prince’s Pine” are particularly sparse, with lyrics kept to a minimum, with the songwriter observing human nature as if peeking out from the woods adjacent to the woodland studio where they were recorded.
Callery’s field recording has that delightfully raw, under-produced quality about it. The album was fashioned in a greenhouse in rural Massachusetts (see image below), her guitar and vocals accompanied by crickets and frogs, along with the occasional chirp of a wild bird. Her lyrics are often bittersweet on this release, with a thematic arc of unrequited love.
The album title “Prince’s Pine,” is named for a small wild flower which grows in the forests of North America. The opening song, First Amongst the Flowers could be about the plant itself, or perhaps an unresolved relationship from days gone by. The tune is a near haiku – brief, yet penetrating in its delivery…
“Each step I take/ Away from you/ Leads me doubled back/ Until I stand in your garden”
The theme of lost love surfaces again on Dark Winged Sparrow, a song that floats in the shadows, with a hero who is “in love with the dark, in love with death.” The singer enunciates gently “Pretty boy I would’ve made you mine/in another place/in another time/Lover boy my dark winged sparrow.”
This collection of songs looks inward, and Prince of the Morning furthers the contemplative refrain. The entitled protagonist with “lily white hands” walks “to the stately house/with its many windows /some were for looking out /some for looking inward.” The songwriter paints a compelling picture.
The final selection They Killed my Crippled Prince with the Sea Glass Eyes, is a story about a songwriter who has moved on because “there’s only so many sad songs a man can sing/before life takes another path & he is gone.” Indeed, the whole album is a song series reflecting on painful farewells.
Callery’s whisper is clear and loud on this release. Her guitar and lyrical style are based heavily on the Folk sounds of the British Isles that she grew up around, along with some “American primitive” finger picking blended into the mix.
The music flows over you like a soft breeze, or a quiet stroll through an English garden, but with lyrics full of thunder and lightning. Although based in nature, the songs are stories of human endeavours, and the disappointments that often come with those. It’s a beautiful collection from a talented artist – check out the album to see what we mean.
Physical CD’s via Reverworship (50 Copies) are now soldout but the EP is available digitally via Bandcamp: https://allysencallery.bandcamp.com/album/princes-pine
The EP will also be available to stream via Spotify, iTunes, etc.