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Long Road Ahead

Gloam is the highly anticipated sophomore album from alternative folk band MAYBEL. Similar characteristics from their debut, Gathering, are carried forward: elegant harmonies, soft instrumentals and a shared optimism coupled with a wide open vulnerability. The songs still echo the intimacy, warmth and closeness of their relationships, yet the band has matured. 

MAYBEL's evolution shines through with ambitious compositions, thoughtful songwriting, and a deeper understanding of themselves as the album’s themes pierce with growing pains, anxieties and hopes for change. It’s a record about movement and stopping; the ongoing act of coming apart and coming together. Gloam is for listening in your bedroom or in transit, missing friends, on your way to see them. It holds an optimism that rings clear yet nestles and dwells in a brooding, muddy darkness - placing it firmly in the illustrious Canadian folk canon. 

This is the first album for which all four members (Fez Gielen, Ali Hendra, Loris Kecaj and Lauren Spear) wrote songs. For the most part, they were written during the pandemic separately and then shared in the upstairs living room where Lauren, Ali and Loris used to live together. The result is a shared diary on love, grief and moving on. In “Passing Through”, Lauren and Loris sing:

“I walked the length of my mind and all I could find 
Was a road with no start and no end 
So I packed up my bags for the going away 
Just to see where this road might begin”

The band's ability to effortlessly blend traditional folk elements with modern production techniques is reminiscent of the collaborations between Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois. Just as Harris and Lanois brought a fresh perspective to country music, MAYBEL embraces experimentation in their sound without compromising the warmth and intimacy inherent to folk music.

As with their debut Gathering, MAYBEL recorded Gloam with producer/engineer Jonas Bonnetta at Port William Sound in Mountain Grove, Ontario. Resonating with a sound borne of the studio’s deeply intimate rural environs it is no wonder the band chose to return. Here they were joined by Eliza Niemi on bass/cello,  Caylie Runciman on bass/drums with Jonas adding synths and percussion. 

Gloam is an old Scottish word for twilight. It appears like a fantasy between the day and night, a time seemingly frozen, drifting, or ignored all together. Gloam is the mood and time within which the album takes place. MAYBEL describes it as being: “In transition, between sleeping and waking—a quiet underworld where one is alone with their thoughts, in true presence with the in-between.”

The final track on the album, For Nothing, captures something of the album’s twilight hope. It begins with lilting solos and gracefully builds in energy and color. MAYBEL sings to its listeners, “All that work for nothing” with a buoyancy and radiance that chimes against the lyrics. They repeat: “All that work for nothing”. For all of the band, the last few years have resulted in significant change and stress. Yet they continue to try, through their music, to will themselves towards optimism. They ask for you to marvel with them at the charming and terrifying possibility of life. They harmonize again, not despairingly, but almost ecstatically  “All that work for nothing!”