Senora May released her second album, aptly titled All My Love on Valentine’s Day this year. Quite appropriately, it’s a beautiful new collection of love songs from the Kentucky singer songwriter. Independently released, the album, though not really a whole-hearted departure, All My Love is still distinctly different from her first album, 2018’s Lainhart. What makes it different, is a distinctly courageous approach. Where Lainhart relied upon a starker, more direct and simpler production approach, here, it’s layers and layers of sound; a cacophony of uniqueness that fills the album with a fullness, and an abundance of warmth that was wholly unexpected by this listener.
The album materialized out of Senora May’s need to find a balance to counter all the divisiveness in this pandemic world we’re all a prisoner of. A quick scroll through any social media platform and one can readily see the hatred and angst that just seems ready to boil over and engulf us all. So, what better weapon to wield than love? Not needing to look far for her inspiration, she merely focused upon her own relationship, her marriage to fellow Kentuckian and musician, Tyler Childers. Though the songs are certainly personally based, there is definitely a more global interpretation to be found for all if you’re willing to hear it.
In a recent interview with The Influences, Senora May had expressed her appreciation for Nashville artist Jessica Lea Mayfield. Somewhere down the line, Mayfield was made aware of the interview, and the rest as they say, is history. Mayfield produced All My Love, and her unique touch seems to be present in every nook and cranny of every track. Still, that presence never trounces the organic nature, nor the simple message of the songs. Yet, it absolutely enhances and deepens them, ultimately creating a true piece of art that occupies a place in your head for days and days to come. It’s really just one of those magical collaborations that doesn’t seem like it should work, but beyond all odds, absolutely does, and leaves you with a new favorite record you can’t shake.
The albums begins with “Intertwine.” A song that immediately reminded me of the charms of Mazzy Star and Tanya Donelly albums, with its layers of strings and haunting vocals. Next, “All My Love” shifts a different direction, with its hand claps and rhythms, and an undeniably infectious happiness.
“No Sweeter Thing” follows, with its rollicking New Orleans style bluesy horns and funky vibe, and quickly became a favorite with my first listen. To my ears, “Naturally” and “Colors” have a very Kathleen Edwards vocal vibe to them, one that is complimented perfectly with the layers of ambiance. “Love You More” and another early favorite, “Looking For a Fight,” approach the whole ‘love’ aspect from unique perspectives that anyone in a long-term relationship should easily relate to. The closing “Dogs of Mexico” starts with the starkness of her debut album, adding additional layers as the song progresses, until concluding in a swirl of cacophonous aesthesis and a smidgen of Mexican accordion. It’s those little flares of eclecticism that make this record so dang special.
The album was recorded in rural Whitesburg, Kentucky, and features a lineup of friends and peers including, Mayfield (Baritone Guitar, Vocals), Sarah Benn (Upright Bass), Kiffy Meyers (Pedal Steel), Chloe Edmonstone (Fiddle), Cecilia Wright (Cello), Thomas Jude (Trumpet), Chase Fleming (Trombone), Michella Phipps (Ebo), Hayden Mile (Drums) and Kenny Miles (Guitar). Miles also contributed his talents recording the tracks, while David Beeman handled the mixing and Brian Lucey completed the mastering. All My Love has a short but sweet approach, with only 8 tracks and a mere 25 minutes. Admittedly, it’s over far before I wanted it to be. Still, in a bigger picture, it’s truly a sum of its parts. It’s one of those albums that just shouldn’t work, but in the end, leaves you scratching your head and smiling at it’s perfection.
All My Love is a beautiful, and perfect representation of maturing love. They say, the best songs are born of the things that we truly know and hold dear. All My Love is a vulnerable but bold statement of the love that Senora May and her husband share. I think we all have it in us, but it takes sharing it with the right person to truly reach the payoff. Senora May and Tyler seemingly have it nailed down pat, and rather than responding with jealousy or indifference, we should seek out their path, and do our best to walk it in all our relationships and interactions. With All My Love Senora May has dropped an album that resonates a maturity far beyond her years. Indeed, it’s far more perfect an album than her age and experiences should warrant. It’s an album that keeps you guessing just what might surface in the next track and continues to provide substance with each subsequent listen. It would be easy to write this one off as a bunch of sappy love songs. No way. These are not simply love songs, these songs are a road-map of the general nature of relationships. There are moments of bliss, moments of frustration, quarrels, inadequacy and more. Spoiler alert, in the end, love wins.
All My Love is out now and available for stream, and purchase on Bandcamp, as well as different formats (Vinyl and CD ) via Senora May’s website: https://senoramaymusic.com