Out here where I live, a May morning is cause for celebration — the snow is behind us, most of winter’s ice has melted, and we’re out breathing the warm spring air during the brief window between the pall of winter and the start of blackfly season. Things must be a little different in Sarah Pray‘s neck of the woods, because her just-released second solo effort, A May Morning, sounds more like an August afternoon — one of those slow, still dog days when the whine of the cicadas competes with the whir of electric fans and there’s never enough ice. You fade into warmth.
This might sound like a complaint — and if you ever come across me on one of those days, you’re probably liable to hear a few about the weather — but Pray’s songs are a serenade from the shade, a cool respite from the white light and the blacktop. They drift and sway, carrying Pray’s smoky burr of a voice on the breeze. Maybe they sound like a memory (“Stormy Weather”); maybe they sound like a promise (“Lullabye”); maybe they sound like a sigh (“End of the World”). They make you lean in. They, too, fade into warmth.
Sonically speaking, A May Morning is a bit of a flitter, incorporating a list of elements that might seem disparate — Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Mazzy Star, even a dash of Portishead — but turn out to blend perfectly under a finely burnished soundscape. Listen to it in a hammock with a cold Mason jar of your favorite beverage in arm’s reach.