Spirals is an acoustic/folk record of 12 songs written over a 3 year period and released in Dec 2013. The songs reflect a personal passage on the flipside of loss, travels and adventures to the wilds and the stillness inside and out. It is about return and reconnection and the simplicity, inspiration and joy found there. It speaks of nature’s mirror where death is a necessity and life holds the inexhaustible power to renew. It is about the cracking open of a conditioned life and the opportunity to wake up into something new where embracing the unknown is essential and following the thread of what you love is possible. It is about following an endless spiral that circles from the edge to the centre and then out again, each time going a little deeper. It is a collection of stories inspired by many places, people and pieces of art, a record of a particular time and part of a cycle that goes on and on…
I’m a firm believer that the natural world is our greatest teacher and that it can mirror to us much needed earth wisdom. I learnt this lesson most tangibly when I worked in an organic orchard and lived surrounded by a circle of trees. Every day I witnessed in all my senses the changing seasons and the layers of inspiration found there. Spring days watching the first blossom and buds appear, miraculously growing into ripe fruit that were harvested during the summer months. Autumn days with the final burst of fruits and then witnessing the leaves change colour and begin to fall into Winter, those days spent cutting back, pruning and preparing for the next season. All year round we would weed by hand and weed some more, mulch the soil and do our best to support these cycles to continue. The organic farming methods slowed us down, connected us to the process and the fruits tasted sweeter given the time and energy we’d invested into them. I saw the trees through their changing times and I witnessed the ease in which they traversed the course of their year. I learnt about the Celtic Wheel, and most significantly that it starts in November, at the descent time. Letting go into a death that must happen in order for new birth, growth and fruition, and then onwards into more shedding as the spiral continues.
This is why I chose to work on a farm and live simply whilst re-configuring my self after a complete wake up in the loss of a marriage, a community as I had known it and an entire belief system. Devastation into liberation and a cracking open that happens to the best of us at one time or another. Somewhere along the road I discovered the work of Joanna Macy, a phenomenal and inspiring activist, author and eco-philosopher. In her book Coming Back to Life she writes that the ‘Earth is a living process in which we participate’ and that ‘positive disintegration’ is a necessary part of it. ‘Living Systems’ are moved to evolve when their survival is endangered and yet in that process there is a ‘temporary kind of limbo’, disorientating to the mind, that can feel like dying. She continues; ‘we know this dying in the splitting of the stars, the cracking open of seeds in the soil, the relinquishment of gills and fins as we crawled onto dry land’.
These words hit me in the gut, along with the cycles of the trees I was witnessing and my own internal process and it moved me to write the title track of the album. I wanted to capture how vital it felt to surrender to the process, step into the unknown and the dark, trust an emerging evolution and stay tuned in to creativity throughout this new evolution. I felt it for me personally, I felt it on a wider scale and I could see it in the trees.
I got in touch with Joanna to ask for her permission to transform some of her words into the chorus of this song and was so grateful she not only said yes but after listening to the music sent back some words of testimonial that I was deeply honoured to recieve.
‘Eleanor Brown beautifully captures the spirit of the work that reconnects, conveying in fresh, lyric fashion the age-old wisdom we now so need to hear,’ Joanna Macy.
This title track of Spirals is a theme that resonates throughout the whole album, many of my other songs and most importantly into my life. When I lose track of that knowing then I am in trouble. I hope you enjoy the songs.
Sometimes letting go is hard to do / so I learn from the trees and I learn from the plants / the leaves and the earth have the perfect romance oh sometimes letting go is hard to do / sometimes saying no is hard to say /so I learn from the creatures from water to land / relinquishing fins as they crawl up the sand oh sometimes saying no is hard to say / the splitting of the stars and the burning of the flame / the cracking of the seed and the breaking of the wave oh we are living in changing times / we have always been living in changing times / sometimes standing sure is hard to do / so I learn from the trees and I learn from the plants / the branches and roots have the perfect balance oh sometimes standing tall is hard to do / cycles and circles and spirals and journeys / we are the process and out of the darkness the new, oh the new, we are born / let go your conformity release your assurances / shedding the habits the patterns and the stories oh sometimes letting go is hard to do / cycles and circles and spirals and journeys / we are the process and out of the darkness the new, oh the new, we are born / sometimes the unknown is hard to bear / so we learn from the ancients and trust what we know /stand naked allowing the process to flow oh sometimes the unknown is where we must grow /sometimes the empty space is where we must go…
‘What You’re Looking For is the best song I heard in 2013 by a mile… listen to this song if you want to feel something listening to an acoustic track again’, Steven Hunt
‘This is the work of a women who enters the depth of her life and sings her self home whilst transmitting this to others’, Pip Bondy.
‘Like a darker, more gutsy Beth Orton, these songs bloom with an honest, and at times cut-throat emotionality, all beautifully carried via her clarity of feeling, her warm intelligence, her rich vocal style and her visceral guitar playing’, Beccy Owen