At Shaman HQ, we have a real soft spot for solo singer songwriters, so when Brad Frye, head honcho over at Desert Records introduced me to Betty Benedeadly with the track Coyote’s Fever Dream, I was instantly captivated with her mellow instrumental take on surf rock, complete with a healthy dose of twanging guitar, what’s not to love?
And today, we’re stoked to bring you the next track, Mescaline Prayer Song, which is also taken from her debut EP, From The Mesa, that releases 12th March through Desert Records, well, who else could it be. Benedeadly comments on the track, ‘The Mescaline Prayer Song is an invocation of the desert, a repeating instrumental chant, my personal version of a prayer.’
Benedeadly continues with what the song means to her, ‘When I play this kind of song, I lose myself in it, and there is a medicine in that experience. Playing the Mescaline Prayer Song, sometimes for hours on end, served as my coping mechanism for processing everything 2020 threw at us. It helped me find my way back to that centered place beyond words, a reminder that we have the ability to transmute the energy around us, to actively participate in weaving the reality we want to live in.’
Although instrumental, Benedeadly adds, ‘While I wasn’t interested in recording words over this instrumental tune, I did want a ritualistic element for the listener to engage with, so this song comes with a written prayer. I invite you to read this mantra, out loud or within, as you listen to this song:’
I pray that in this madness
You’re managing to find some stillness
Enough to hear your own heartbeat
Find that rhythm deep down inside
And hang onto it
The world may be changing all around us
(Indeed it needs to if we’re to survive)
And while that will be exhausting
Your inner song has the ability to carry you through
It’s time for some new norms to emerge
And I believe the way forward is to listen
To that truth deep down inside
That wisdom that we all know
But are often too distracted to pay attention to
Or act on
And if you feel like the world has dropped out from under you
Or you’re alone
Or that nothing matters
I pray that you hear my beat
And it reminds you of yours
And with the upmost gratiude Benedeadly concludes, ‘What began with a jug of mescaline in Slab City has evolved into a collection of personal prayer songs, a record deal with Desert Records, spiritual healing in the desert, and a chapter I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world; and the Mescaline Prayer Song was the tune that started this new direction. It is a personal milestone, marking a shift into a very different kind of songwriting. It is so damn exciting to finally be sharing the fruits of these labors with the world. If you’re reading this, a humble and gratitude-filled Thank You for being a witness to this journey.’
What else can I add, so click play below and be swept along with Mescaline Prayer Song…
More On Betty Benedeadly & ‘From The Mesa’
Desert Rocker Betty Benedeadly Finds Healing for the 2020 Wounds by Communing with the Land & Signs to Desert Records.
What began as a desperate attempt to crawl out from under the pressure of 2020 city living gave way to a debut solo EP, From The Mesa, now signed to Desert Records. ‘I was slowly adjusting to the quarantined lifestyle, but after feeling the sting of tear gas and witnessing the astonishing level of police brutality unleashed on peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in Austin, I broke. The inherent violence of our system was laid bare, I could not unsee it, and every cell in my body conspired to take me away from civilization and into the desert,’ says Benedeadly.
Without a hint of a game plan, the guitarist from Austin found her way to the wide open spaces of Northern New Mexico, where several months of van life and service road camping began to work their magic. ‘I left the city feeling like a shell of a human. I came back to life in the desert.’
‘Solitude in the desert was my medicine. All those coyote howl-filled nights under the Milky Way quieted my anxiety-filled mind. Instead of obsessing over the horrors of COVID death tolls or the current fascist regime, I slowly moved into that space beyond words,’ says Benedeadly. ‘I was learning how to listen to the non-human elements all around me, to commune with the land, to receive her deeper wisdom. Eventually, the trauma resulting from the events of this past year began to melt away, and I knew I was back on my path when new songs began to flow through me again.’
Betty Benedeadly’s solo debut delivers a trifecta of twang-edelic, trans-inducing rock & roll instrumentals. Recorded in an earthship in Taos, these songs invoke the spirit of the Northern New Mexico land with foot-stomping ritualistic rhythms and guitar-driven motifs that draw from Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti westerns, surf, and roots rock. From The Mesa will be released March 12, 2021.
‘I am so pleased to sign with a New Mexico-based label to release these songs. I also have kept my gratitude to the land central in my mind, and I’m researching land stewardship projects to support with this EP. I’m currently looking at projects working to grant legal rights to nature, as well as the indigenous land back movement. Brad Frye, founder of Desert Records, has been an amazing partner to work with, and is on board to donate a portion of all EP sales to one of these organizations,’ she says.
Benedeadly is also the co-founder and guitarist of Sheverb, a womxn-led, collectively run, psychedelic rock & roll band based in Austin, TX. Armed with their instruments, this tribe is out to challenge our understanding of the romanticized Wild West with their desert-fueled, surf-infused sound. The core of this collective consists of Betty Benedeadly, Xina Ocasio, Lainey Smith, James Mescall and Braden Guess, who bring together the guitar twang of spaghetti westerns, the driving rhythms of krautrock and the panoramic aesthetic of the big screen.
From The Mesa Tracklisting:
01. Mescaline Prayer Song
02. Coyote’s Fever Dream
03. Down the Gorge
Betty Benedeadly’s debut EP, From The Mesa, releases 12th March through Desert Records and pre-orders are available now on Bandcamp. Alternatively you can subscribe to Desert Records, where you’ll receive past, present and future releases, along with exclusive subscriber only benefits. More info can be found over on the labels Bandcamp.