Avalon - The Huntress and the Holder of Hands
Updated: Jan 2, 2019
An uplifting and heart shattering masterpiece.
Written by Ida V. Eskamani
Avalon by the Huntress and the Holder of Hands is a testament to the musical brilliance and personal resilience of singer, songwriter and front-woman MorganEve Swain.
Released September of this year, the record is Swain’s first since the loss of her husband and musical partner Dave Lamb to leukemia in 2014. Swain’s journey through this inescapable loss and her enduring love is the focal point of this hauntingly beautiful and complex record.
Swain’s lyrics “once you were my kingdom, once I was your queen, now I sit on this dark throne, I’m stronger than I seem,” somehow manage to empower and shatter simultaneously.
Shadow of the Hunted opens the record with a steady beat, a musical representation of putting one foot in front of the other, marching forward towards the unknown. Borealis follows, a somber love song with a bridge of steadfast resolve which fully comes to light in the next track, Call to Arms.
My Kingdom could possibly be my favorite track. It is musically captivating, poetic, and honest. Swain’s lyrics “once you were my kingdom, once I was your queen, now I sit on this dark throne, I’m stronger than I seem,” somehow manage to empower and shatter simultaneously. This track also grooves, closing with an epic orchestral breakdown.
The album chooses not to follow the traditional stages of grief, but grief seldom does. Rather, the record swings like a pendulum between stages of disbelief and resilience, devastation and resolve. The record closes with Creatures in Flight, a delicate and desperate track that asks the inexplicable question when we face loss, “what could I have done?”
Lyrically, the album is bold and vulnerable, each track navigating our darkest fears and deepest strengths when faced with loss. The lyrics are expressed through perfectly imperfect harmonies and Swain’s hauntingly beautiful voice. This record is also masterfully orchestrated. It’s complex and multi-layered, incorporating cello, double bass, fiddle, and viola alongside guitar, drums, and ukulele.
Each track is a work of art, and in the sum of all its parts, produces a powerful experience. It speaks beautifully to Swain’s resilience and to a commitment that can’t be separated by death. Avalon leaves the listener feeling the enormity of love and the helplessness of loss. It’s a record that will move your soul.
Ida is an Iranian-American from Florida who grew up with the Beatles, and came of age in the pit. She will talk to you about music for as long as you will pretend to listen. She is founder of Bandifesto, a little blog with a big heart.