Photo: Kai MacKnight

Shannon Lay delivers a double dose of hymnal folk in “Awaken and Allow” and “Geist”, announces new album

Having casually dropped off the sensational “Rare To Wake” back in May, Shannon Lay now returns with many more goods, chief among them the news of a new album called Geist arriving on October 8 through Sub Pop. Along with that, she’s shared a couple more songs from it, “Awaken and Allow” and “Geist”. As ever, she has plenty of wise words to add behind the songs:

“‘Awaken and Allow’ is a prayer and a promise. A quiet moment to reflect on transformation and what it means to me. California represents my comfort zone and in this song I am urging myself and everyone listening to move out of their comfort zone in order to push ourselves to grow and evolve.”

“‘Geist’ is a testament to the power we all have within. We are so much more amazing than we know ourselves to be.”

The theme of self-improvement through personal challenge is one that Shannon Lay has been exploring for a while, but she always finds new ways to make is mesmeric once more – and besides, evolution is a constantly ongoing process, so we need new encouragement every chance we get. “Awaken and Allow” finds her almost a capella, beginning “I sit here quiet fingers folded / holding something I can’t see,” and we feel as if we’re alongside her – in a pew, perhaps, as there is a religious lilt to her melody and she does describe it as a prayer. As she sings of wanting to “awaken the nature that is me”, we can all feel something stir inside us; our true natures, being called to actualisation by Lay’s gorgeous invocation to discover oneself.

“Geist” then finds Lay’s acoustic drifting in alongside some upright bass, her double tracked voice twirling in the golden atmosphere. It feels like an adjunct to “Awaken and Allow”, a further encouragement that you can do anything, and that it won’t be difficult or drastic – as long as you believe in yourself and keep your loved ones close in mind.

Shannon Lay and director Kai MacKnight have created a double video for the songs. Lay says:

“With this video I really wanted to acknowledge some of the incredible people who make shows possible. We filmed at Zebulon in Los Angeles; a venue that has brought so much to the community here and I am so happy they have survived this uncertain time. There is so much going on behind the scenes to create the amazing memories we all have of live music and every part of that took a hit with the pandemic. With all we have been through it has been awe inspiring to see the strength of the human spirit.”

Watch the clip below.

Shannon Lay’s new album Geist is out on October 8 through Sub Pop. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.