Songs We Love: The Stray Birds, 'Shining In The Distance' Maya de Vitry's powerhouse of a voice shines in this gospel-inspired ode to dreaming of what seems unattainable.

Songs We Love: The Stray Birds, 'Shining In The Distance'

Shining In The Distance

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The Stray Birds. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

The Stray Birds.

Courtesy of the artist

Sometimes, you just have to go for it — that dream, that hope, that wish. And, in 2015, that's exactly what Maya de Vitry, one-quarter of The Stray Birds, did.

The Pennsylvania native moved to Nashville, Tenn., that mecca of music and creativity. And at the same time she was making her move, Lindsay Lou, of Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, was doing the same thing. So the two women settled into their new city together — wandering the neighborhoods, exploring the music venues and just generally finding their way. Out of that experience of displacement, not to mention a shared love of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and a desire to start co-writing more often, came "Shining In The Distance."


Described by de Vitry as "a new gospel song," "Shining In The Distance" is nothing if not a showcase for her raw powerhouse of a voice. Her vocal range isn't huge — she's got a comfortable sweet spot that she likes to stay in — but she wrings every possible drop of emotion out of the simple, catchy lyrics, singing plaintively (and believably) about looking toward something that seems completely unattainable and dreaming about the day it'll be yours.

As the opening track to the band's new album, Magic Fire, produced by the enormously talented Larry Campbell, "Shining In The Distance" packs a punch that'll keep you listening. Bandmates Charles Muench (banjo, bass and vocals) and Oliver Craven (fiddle, guitar, mandolin and vocals) add their warm harmonies and technically pristine playing to de Vitry's powerful songwriting. With the recent addition of Shane Leonard on drums, this is a band that seems poised to take off in a new — and very exciting — musical direction.

Magic Fire comes out Aug. 19 on Yep Roc.