Maya de Vitry dwells in her songs, lovingly turning over images and words, and caressing her lyrics in her vibrant, resonant vocals. She creates such elegant meditative soundscapes that her songs shiver with an emotional immediacy that stirs our hearts. Every song on Violet Light shimmers with the brilliance of facets of nature that illumine the dark crevices of our world and brighten the corner where we are.
Fingerpicked guitar notes gently circle around de Vitry’s mellifluous vocals which spiral and envelop us with tender warmth on “Real Time, Real Tears.” Her two sisters, Monica de Vitry and Nina de Vitry, join their voices with Maya’s, and her brother, Lyle de Vitry, adds his warm guitar phrasings and tone as the siblings deliver a haunting and affectionate eulogy to their uncle. De Vitry reminds us that grief and pain enlarge our lives rather than diminishing them, so that “I give my pain a window now I give my pain a door/I give anything to know if she’s ever been anywhere like this before/And yes I give her sunlight and water/And when she asks I always give her more.”
Jen Gunderman’s swirling Wurlitzer roars under the soaring vocals of the anthem to living in the face of death, “How Bad I Wanna Live.” The lyrics lay bare the singer’s fear of dying but ascend by the end of the song into a defiant embrace of life. The album’s title words come from “Not a Trick of the Eye,” a shuffling reflection on what we’re able to see and what we’re not. De Vitry sings that “We are no butterflies/We do not have the eyes/For violet light,” the ultraviolet light not visible to human eyes. Even in the light of day, however, humans witness moments of brutality—“I sure did see an innocent man/Shot dead on the street that night”—and too often fail to “see” them.
Ric Robertson’s crisp mandolin strums and runs open the achingly beautiful “Margaret,” a shimmering waltz that floats dreamily on Thor Davidsson’s yearning harmonica strains and imparts an enduring message: “What can I say, just be good to your sweethearts and gardens/Be good to your dogs and your faraway friends/When you find bits of light hold on to them tight/You’ll need all of them when your world changes again.” The ebullient, downright fun, John Prine-like “Watches Out of Diamonds” sparkles with de Vitry’s energetic guitar strums, her kazoo solo on the bridge, and Ethan Jodziewicz’s propulsive kick drum.
On Violet Light, de Vitry’s silken vocals, expansive arrangements, and reflective lyrics seek light amongst the shadow of human failure and foibles, love amidst the loss engendered by conflict, and hope that flowers out of the desolate anguish of hopelessness. Her songs capture ache and desolation, fear and anger, love and hope, and her warm, resonant voice embraces us with its soulful intimacy, as if she’s singing these songs directly to us.
Violet Light is available HERE.
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