One of the most notable artists to come out of the 2010 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest was Minneapolis-based soul roots rocker Heatherlyn. Although she didn’t win the contest, she was voted into the Midwest Regional finals by popular vote so that has to count for something. And after taking a listen to her debut full-length release, Storydwelling, it is easy to understand why people like her so much.
Filled with positivity, encouragement and thought-provoking lyrics and topics, Storydwelling is an album that is meant to be listened to very carefully. This isn’t the sort of album you use for background noise at a party full of people. “Be the Love” and “Peace on Earth” are self-explanatory numbers about how we can change the world for the better, and “Put On Your Climbing Shoes” is a ditty in the classic don’t-give-up-no-matter-what-life-throws-at-you tradition. And though it can be uncomfortable at times (“Home With You Continues” and “Modernity” definitely give you reason to pause and consider your own priorities in life and how you respond to people), the content is delivered in a way so as to invoke reflection and introspection rather than any sort of condemnation.
Heatherlyn’s soulful and passionate vocals light the way through each tune as you travel with her through whatever emotional landscape is in front of you, and despite the heaviness of some of the content on the record, her demeanor is pleasant and languid by and large. This album is resonant, strong and impassioned, but it is also fun, visual and groovy. At its core, Storydwelling is all about living actively in your own story and engaging with others so that you can immerse yourself—or dwell—in their stories too, and for that reason alone this album is well worth your time.