Lily & Madeleine / Shannon Hayden
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Written by a pair of teenaged sisters over the course of their summer vacation and recorded with a band in just a few days, The Weight of the Globe is a musical snapshot of Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz at a pivotal moment in their lives. Madeleine’s off to college, Lily’s sure to follow soon after, and both sisters find themselves pulled in two directions—between a love for the hometown they’ll be leaving behind and their burgeoning wanderlust. When the sisters began writing together just over a year ago, nobody expected their first song, “In the Middle,” to rack up a quarter of a million YouTube views.
The recording project that became the Weight EP started with producer Paul Mahern (John Mellencamp, the Fray), who had fallen in love with the duo’s earlier YouTube videos, and invited the sisters to the studio. Each song on the album was written as a discrete, self-contained folk-pop statement, but holds together like a collection of interconnected short stories. Taken as a whole, the songs chart a journey from love to disillusionment to heartbreak. There’s nothing calculated about the album. It’s as sincere as it is precociously sophisticated—and it marks the auspicious debut of a spectacularly talented musical family.
Doing what is expected isn't something everyone does well. Following years of classical training at the highest level, Shannon Hayden's very nontraditional interpretation of cello performance is an example of why doing the unexpected is a good thing. Occasional heavy outbursts of distortion with elements bordering noise punk are matched with layers of lush ambiance combining both current and traditional styles with all the virtuosity of a player redefining our expectations of maturing young prodigies. Some musicians make you feel good about where music is headed and Shannon Hayden is one of them.