The compelling project isanother demonstration of Robinson’s angelic voice that serves as a guiding force through life’s most complex moments. Written primarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, the profound singer-songwriter says she used the forced down time to reflect inward, conveying the intricacies of life through song. “These songs came out along the way and I feel like they’re representative of a deepening of life and life experiences, the deeper wisdom that grows the more you journey out in the world and live your dream and experience pain and loss, as well as joy and growth and healing,” Robinson expresses in a phone interview with Sounds Like Nashville. “These songs feel like the next blossoming, the next evolution.”
Named after the sirens in Greek mythology known for luring sailor’s to their demise with their enchanting voices, the album’s title represents the inner voice that compels us to follow our calling. “The theme tying it all together is this idea of the voices that call to us, the songs that we hear through our lives and the desires that we have,” she observes. “Each specific song has its own calling to it, its own voice that’s calling to a narrator or the narrator calling out for something. Looking to your dream and not really knowing how to get there, but having that fire that burns for what you want and for what you feel destined for.” This concept manifests into 10 gorgeous songs, each one as introspective as the other. With organic instrumentation as crisp as the mountain air she’s surrounded by, the Colorado-based artist authentically straddles the line of folk and bluegrass on an album that is composed of endings and beginnings, with countless lyrical gems to guide the listener along the way.
Robinson doesn’t shy away from life’s painful moments, as exemplified on “Things You Learn the Hard Way,” wherein she walks through the toughest trials with grace and grit, calmly sharing the wisdom she’s gained, whether as simple as calling your mother every Sunday to the difficulty in trying to fix broken trust. “Sometimes the deepest healing / Comes through the darkest night,” she sings with a gentle voice that one can’t help but trust. On “Let ‘Em Burn,” Robinson pulls inspiration from Untamed, the New York Times best-selling novel by Glennon Doyle, that translates into a five-minute lamentof a wife and mother who takes an honest look at her seemingly picture-perfect life, only to realize she’s fallen prey to gender norms and societal standards, ultimately relying on her inner strength to break free and build the life she dreams for herself. “I followed every rule and played it safe / And I built myself a beautiful cage / I lit a match and held it to my yearning / And found out I was a house already burning,” Robinson sings in one of the album’s most moving numbers.
Her powerful songwriting and masterful ability to balance the darkness of life with the light is also exhibited in “Lost Woman’s Prayer” where she meets a kindred spirit at a bar, the fast friends trading stories and the wisdom they’ve gained throughout the years in the form of soul-filling jewels like “run reckless and headlong toward your biggest fears / Let your life be of service / Turn your pain into purpose.” Inspired by the female friendships she’s formed throughout the “vicissitudes” of life, Robinson exudes brightness as she proclaims, “sisterhood softens the edges of our burdens and worries and cares.” “Sometimes if you’re feeling lost and you’re wandering through the world, the universe puts somebody in your path to remind you that it’s okay to wander and it’s okay to feel lost,” she explains of the meaning behind what she calls a “blessing song.” “It’s about going through life and cheers to the changes we all go through and the experiences we have. Life is long and it’s beautiful and it’s full of so much.”
While she bonds with another person’s soul in “Lost Woman’s Prayer,” she forms a deep connection to her own in “Lightning in a Bottle,” which she cites as the album’s most vulnerable number. Here, Robinson ties her past self to the present, finding herself at the intersection of raw vulnerability and purity as she captures the sweetness of innocence while harboring a deep desire to feel seen. Robinson reveals in its original form, “Lightning” was an uptempo number, but she soon realized the melody needed to reflect the “quiet” and “lonely” nature of the song. “I realized that the song was equally as sad as it was happy. It was a really plaintive song about looking back on your youth,” she observes of the song that’s fiddle-led melody evokes a feeling of nostalgia. ”That was one that I really had to do some exploration as to what the real meaning of that song was, even though I wrote it myself. Songs sometimes, even if we think we finished writing them, they still have things to teach us.”
But the album’s mission statement is embedded in “Every Day in Faith,” as Robinson is unafraid to admit that had she seen the challenges set before her, she may not have summoned the courage to forge ahead. But by believing in the unseen miracles that carried her through, she can now bear her battle scars like badges of honor, the instrumentation meeting her voice in a way that allows the message to resonate. “Some lessons, they were hard to learn / But I thank my darkest teachers for the scars that I have earned,” she sings with intent. “It’s about showing up for life through the hard times and through the beautiful times and trusting your path,” Robinson describes. “That’s the one that summarizes the whole record.”
By embracing the pain and feeling her way through every emotion and experience, Robinson creates an album that is pure in every way with American Siren, calling out to the lost and lonely souls of the world. Robinson hopes listeners feel this, knowing that they have her voice as their companion on this complicated journey of life. And just as she sings in “Lost Woman’s Prayer,” “may you be forever changed.” “I think that I’m trying to give people the courage and reflect back to them that they’re not alone. I think that we’ve all been a little bit more honest about our challenges in life and about our struggles, about periods of great depression and darkness. I wanted to write about a more honest human experience. I feel this way when I hear a song that I love or read a book that I love where I connect with a character and I see my story and that character, and I feel braver, I feel less alone, less isolated,” she professes of the album’s purpose. “I love connecting with people and telling stories and reflecting back the human experience.”
American Siren is available now.