Restless Townies – “The Light I’m Sending You”
Album Reviews | May 15th, 2023
Record Label: Small Batch Records
Unquestionably, one of the most devastating events in life is the death of a spouse or partner. Melissa G. Shepherd of the Tennessee band Restless Townies has turned her grief into musical poetry on “The Light I’m Sending You,” an EP dedicated in memory of her late husband, Nathan.
Melissa shares that Nathan “was so supportive of my music-making that he gave me a new instrument for Christmas every year.” Indeed, she’s brought many of them to the table for the EP: On “Sun Song,” give a listen for her spirited ukulele adding some counterpoint to such poignant lyrics as: “You’ll feel the light I’m sending you.” The title “Sun Song” has a double meaning considering the EP was recorded at Memphis’s vaunted Sun Studios; it’s heartbreaking to learn that Nathan always hoped Melissa would get there, but sadly he lost his battle to cancer before Melissa was finally able to put “Sun Song” to Sun’s tape machines.
On the subsequent ditty, “Astronaut Ice Cream,” Melissa enlists the help of the couple’s 5-year-old son, Graham, who composed the rather amusing lyrics, with Melissa setting them to music. Graham and other young’uns are the only singers on the song, which will make almost anyone smile. Young Graham also lends his vocals to “Sun Song,” along with a coterie of other family members and friends too.
Indeed, Melissa Shepherd’s large musical family also pitches in on “The Light I’m Sending You,” including longtime Townies bandmates Adam Poor and Jeff Hulett. The circumstances surrounding the genesis of this project are horrendous, but “The Light” is a subtle yet firm reminder in the power of music to, if not precisely heal, at least point the way toward a new day.
Notable Tracks: Sun Song, Astronaut Ice Cream