“She is a child of the nineties who plays a children’s guitar from the sixites,” proclaims NPR on the Live Sessions page for Hayley Sabella, the Massachusetts-born, Nicaragua-bred singer-songwriter who returns in 2020 with a great new album, Flew The Nest.
Today she shares with American Songwriter the video for the second single from the forthcoming LP, “July Rain,” a tune addressing the emotional interpolation between water and human behavior.
“’July Rain’ is a song inspired by processing grief during a heatwave, using water as a symbol for emotion,” she explains. “Summers in New England go through cycles of oppressive humidity that continue to build until a cold front comes in, clashing and creating intense and cathartic thunderstorms. I’ve always loved the electricity of a good summer storm. The air seems to reach a maximum threshold for holding water and must let it go, like a levy breaking. The hours following a storm feel fresh and clear, analogous to the relief of a cathartic cry.”
As we can see from the interplay between Sabella and her sidemen in the Zoom-filmed video, it was incredibly important to not only emulate the proverbial weight of water lyrically but sonically as well.
“We intentionally produced ‘July Rain’ to emulate the movement of water. The pedal steel and electric guitar almost sound like ripples responding to the snare drum. While listening, I like to close my eyes and picture a crowded harbor where you can hear the boats rhythmically knock up against the dock. The song anticipates and encourages emotional release. But it also feels calm and comfortable with that emotion, reminding the listener that it is indeed okay to cry. Even the air must let water go.”
In fact, “July Rain” helped inspire Sabella to upgrade Flew The Nest from an originally intended EP to a proper full-length.
“I thought I had just finished tracking Flew The Nest,” she tells American Songwriter. “‘July Rain’ had been sitting in my notebook as just a chorus. I started it in July 2018 and the rest of the song didn’t come to me until the following July. When I finished the song and connected so strongly to it, it made me want to delay the EP release and return to the studio. I already wanted this song to be a single, and it wasn’t even recorded yet. ‘July Rain’ turned out to be one of the lushest tracks on Flew The Nest – it really changed the project.”
Flew The Nest arrives May 29th and can be preordered through BandCamp.
Photo credit: Sasha Pedro