Lillian — Chasing Shadows
There aren’t many things more vulnerable than standing on a stage in a room full of people, most of whom haven’t come to see you, armed only with a guitar and a few stories. Denver singer-songwriter Lillian is one of the brave folks who chooses to do just that, and she recently captured a rowdy Colorado crowd while opening for Sarah Shook & The Disarmers with charm, wit and a batch of excellent songs. Her first full-length album, Chasing Shadows, captures a decade of life spent exploring the world and trying to find her place in it.
Chasing Shadows is sequenced to “carry listeners from darkness to light,” in Lillian’s words, and even though it tells her story, it also works for the listener in an almost-post-pandemic world. The first track, “Dark Didn’t Know My Name,” finds the singer in a rough place – “Though I run fast/This feeling is catching my feet/It’s overwhelming me.” Alone, without companionship or distraction, she can’t outrun grief. That short tablesetter leads into “Eclipse,” where Lillian is in a sort of stasis where life moves on even as she can’t – “While the world keeps turning/All is quiet at the core.” The end of the song, though, foreshadows Lillian’s trip across the rest of the album – “And just like that day/The sun’s light returned.”
The instrumentation on Chasing Shadows is spare – primarily acoustic guitar by Paul DeHaven and occasional harmonies from Sarah Anderson – to reflect the hushed tone of the record, asking the listener to lean in and pay attention just as the singer, in “Brick Wall,” must do to regain her emotional equilibrium – “And the magic comes back/When I sit and breathe.” “Haunted & Human” has her indulging her love of travel and the gift of time spent alone – “I used to think I’d settle/And put my roots in one place/But over the years, I’ve found/Wherever I go, I’m home.” “Love Like Water” finds the enjoyment of loving freely, even at the risk of loss – “The truth is we’re all slowly dying/Life’s meant to slip/So savor the slipping.” And “Hollow Bone” has Lillian ready to share her journey out of darkness – “Now I’m chasing after lightning/Hoping one day, it’ll strike me/And empty out all of these stories.” Her vulnerability begets empathy shared between her and the listener, and what she’s learned by walking – often stumbling – toward light might help others choose the same path, as difficult as it might sometimes seem.
Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Wind in the Pines” – Lillian’s internal battle between angst over the unknown and fear of a life not fully lived brings out the singer’s most impressive vocals on the record.
Chasing Shadows was produced and mixed by Mark Anderson. Songs were written by Lillian Soderman and Paul DeHaven. Additional musicians include DeHaven (guitar) and Sarah Anderson (vocal harmonies).
Order Chasing Shadows (out on vinyl April 22) here: https://lillianmusic.bandcamp.com/album/chasing-shadows
Check out show dates here: http://www.lilliansoderman.com/shows