North Carolina-based duo Violet Bell (Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez) are preparing their most ambitious project to date.
Due out on Oct. 7, the duo’s upcoming album Shapeshifter retells the story of the selkie, a mythical creature found in many Celtic and Norse folktales. In the tale, a fisherman steals the skin of a selfie, who can shift between human and seal with the aid of her shroud — and how the selkie reclaims it. (A more in-depth explanation of the selkie story can be found at Violet Bell’s website.)

Violet Bell use the mythological tale to interrogate oppression — why would the fisherman trap the selkie in a false form? What pain is he operating from?

Shapeshifter also focuses on the selkie’s intense feelings of dysphoria as she attempts to navigate life in the wrong body — and the liberation she feels when she returns to her true self. The record ends on a somber note with “Junkie,” out today.

“This is the final song I wrote for Shapeshifter,” Ross explains. “We recorded it as a duo — the original incarnation of our music — in one take. Sometimes life can feel like one big ache. Numbing that feeling — doing anything to run from it — has driven our addictions. In letting go of substance abuse, we are learning that when you surrender and let yourself feel what you feel, you become awake to life.”

The track’s music video was directed by Ross’ high school friend Sydney Buchanan. Ross says that their special connection, which began with a water gun prank in their youth, is at the heart of the video’s concept.

“We filmed at Bethlehem Presbyterian church in Saxapahaw, N.C. We’re not of the same faith, but we were touched by the generosity of the pastor and her husband, who makes a cameo in the video,” Ross notes. “‘Junkie’ is about turning towards our own pain in order to learn from it and heal it. People often say that connection is the opposite of addiction. Whether you connect through music, church, nature, or elsehow, you have to become vulnerable, compassionate, and curious to make true contact. This video bring visual poetry to something very tender and human about how we show up for each other and for ourselves.”

Watch the official music video for “Junkie” below:

Violet Bell have multiple tour dates scheduled across the U.S. ahead of their Nov. 11 album release show at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, N.C. You can find a full list of upcoming concerts and ticketing information at duo’s official website.

PHOTOS: 2022 Americana Honors & Awards Red Carpet

Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Nikki Lane, Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the talented acts who took the stage during the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Take a look at all the fashion, surprises and fun captured in these snapshots from the red carpet.

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