Juliana Daugherty - Light LPWestern Vinyl
It's hard to imagine that Juliana Daugherty's softness and subtlety could materialize amid the tumult of current-day Charlottesville, VA, but every mode of being continues in the people of Charlottesville, as it does elsewhere, despite the impressions headlines might give. Despite the societal ills that dominate our screens, private struggles still exist, and Daugherty's debut Light gives them palatable, manageable, and satisfying form.
"I wrote this record partly to strip mental illness of its power," Daugherty says. She adds, "There is nothing useful or beautiful to be gleaned from the experience of depression." Though this statement seems contrary to the romantic tone of Light, it's refreshing to hear an artist speak of their own depression with objectivity, unwilling to be charmed by the gloom. Daugherty wields her songcraft like a sword, not a diary to be buried in a drawer.
As one listens, it becomes clear that Light was not a title chosen despite the gravity of its subject matter-- romantic struggle, abject depression, and throbbing vulnerability-- but rather in service of it. Light, so to speak, comes when we give shape to what haunts us.