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Shauna Burns - The Moon and the Fire Circle
Shauna Burns - The Moon and the Fire Circle
CD Review by Jud Conway on 1/8/2009   

The musical universe of Shauna Burns is dominated by stream-of-consciousness lyrics that float effortlessly over piano-driven melodies complemented by a delicate mix of guitars, harps, and cellos and accentuated by warm bass tones and strong percussion. The Moon and the Fire Circle, Burns’ third full-length release, takes listeners on "a journey from the light to the dark and back… again" and features some of her most inspired songwriting to date.

Although Shauna Burns learned to sing and play the piano while growing up in Miami, Florida, it wasn’t until she relocated to Utah to study Anthropology that everything clicked into place. She finally burst onto the music scene in 2005, with the critically-acclaimed Every Thought, which spawned the singles "Pink Girl" and "Petunia." Since then, she has toured extensively in both the United States and United Kingdom and built a strong international fan base.

Often compared to artists like Tori Amos, Sarah McLaughlin, and Loreena KcKennitt, Shauna possesses a warm, emotive voice that inhabits even the most ethereal of compositions. Her strong vocal delivery on the pop-friendly "Around You," The Moon and the Fire Circle’s first single, propelled the track and corresponding video into the top-ten regions of the AC charts.

While Shauna’s music is informed by many geographic locations and world cultures, she has forged a special bond with the desert and mountain landscapes of the western United States, where she now resides. There is an organic sensibility to the melodic imagery and instrumentation of songs like "Desert Sun" and "Tumbleweed" that helps to frame symbolic references to this particular locale.

Lyrically, Shauna’s scope is more universal, in that her songwriting philosophy embraces the basic premise that "the universe is trying to tell us [something]." This is evident in many of the songs on The Moon and the Fire Circle, particularly ‘Comet" and "Out," which boasts lines like "Above the clouds I’m blind, as I catch the sun."

As a whole, The Moon and the Fire Circle works best when its disparate emotions and tonal colors crash into one another, as on the standout tracks "Bloom" and ‘Chamber."

If this enchanting album turns out to be anything less than the musical personification of Shauna Burns’ search for footing within the universe, it is still a moving and intense journey "from [the] light to the dark and back" that many listeners will, no doubt, want to take again… and again.

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