“Busy living on the outside”: The Dreamy, Restless Ache of Hannah Connolly’s “Shadowboxing”

Hannah Connolly by Cody Ackors
Hannah Connolly by Cody Ackors
Achingly intimate and brutally vulnerable, singer/songwriter Hannah Connolly’s “Shadowboxing” is a pained, poignant country ballad reckoning with the demons who never leave us and the fights we’ll never win.
Stream: “Shadowboxing” – Hannah Connolly




When all is said and done, we learn the hard way how to become; it’s not much, but it’s enough…

You won’t find emotional resolution in Hannah Connolly’s “Shadowboxing”…

… but you might find kindred spirit.

Because we’re all shadowboxing someone or something in this world, even if it isn’t obvious who or what that is. Achingly intimate and brutally vulnerable, Connolly’s “Shadowboxing” is a pained, poignant country ballad rife with angst and unresolved feelings. It’s a forlorn, bittersweet reverie about wrestling with one’s demons and learning to live with them – recognizing that some of those haunts can’t be conquered or vanquished. Sometimes irresolution is the resolution, and that in itself can be jarring, until we remember we’re not alone in our experience.

And sometimes that’s all we need to keep on fighting.

Shadowboxing - Hannah Connolly
Shadowboxing – Hannah Connolly
Shadowboxing with the night
It’s been falling down like thunder
Holding on up a steady line
Thinking I could make it mine
But I lost it somehow
Drinking in the morning light
Chasing down an empty feeling
Don’t know what it’s supposed to mean
Think I found it in a dream
But I lost it somehow

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the Jacob Butler-directed music video for “Shadowboxing,” the touching title track off Hannah Connolly’s recently-released sophomore album Shadowboxing (independently released March 1, 2024). The follow-up to her 2020 debut album From Where You Are is a stunning return for the Eau Claire, Wisconsin-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter – one that sees her continuing to unpack her past and process this turbulent world, one charmingly candid upheaval at a time.

A soul-stirring record of grief, trauma, and (the long road of) healing, Shadowboxing weaves together elements of folk, country and Americana, rock, blues, and even psychedelia into an enchanting ten-track deep-dive into Connolly’s psyche. Its songs feel as though they were torn from the artist’s innermost sanctum, ripped from pages of a diary no one was supposed to read. Connolly herself is both narrator and protagonist as she dwells unapologetically in life’s depths – observing, exploring, and expressing the human condition the way she knows best.

Hannah Connolly © Cody Ackors
Hannah Connolly © Cody Ackors
Busy living on the outside
Don’t tell me white lies
It’s been at high tide now
For a year

“Shadowboxing” is a particularly cathartic moment of inner reckoning and unrest on its namesake album, finding Connolly accepting the “never-ending” part of our “never-ending struggle.” She never outright welcomes in this bitter truth – who would? – but her cryptic, emotionally charged lyrics reflect a certain understanding of the world that take others a lifetime to figure out, let alone take to heart.

“‘Shadowboxing’ is a song where, even though the lyrics felt complete, the full meaning was still a bit of a mystery,” Connolly tells Atwood Magazine. “In some ways this song felt like someone else’s story.”

“The fact that I can’t fully pin down what ‘Shadowboxing’ is about is part of the reason I was drawn to it as the title for the album. Thematically it fits the record because other songs touch on facing invisible foes, including ourselves. Choosing this song as the title was also a nod to embracing uncertainty. It’s a hidden reminder for me to allow magic into the process and leave space for things to be discovered along the way.”

Burning embers that ignite
Shouldn’t be an invitation
Keeping secrets from the night
Knowing wrongs don’t make it right
But you’re calling on vows
Busy living on the outside
Don’t tell me white lies
It’s been at high tide now
For a year
Hannah Connolly © Cody Ackors
Hannah Connolly © Cody Ackors

The accompanying music video retains the down-to-earth spirit of Connolly’s achingly raw songwriting.

“When creating the music video for ‘Shadowboxing,’ one of the goals was to tap into the nostalgic, dreamy feeling of the song,” she explains. “The music video was directed by Jacob Butler and filmed over the course of a weekend in Los Angeles. It was captured between a warehouse downtown, Angel’s Point, and the same home where we shot the album cover. Angels Point was recommended by Jacob and it felt like a very fitting location for this song. It’s one of a few places in Los Angeles where you can feel both a part of and outside of the city. It was a lot of fun performing this song with the band Eric Cannata, Fede Petro, Stephen Musselman and Dave Pelusi. I love to dance, and this music video was one of the first times I had a chance to experiment a bit more with how movement can interact with my original music.”

But when all is said and done
We learn the hard way
How to become
It’s not much
But it’s enough
A head full of dreams
And a heart full of love

There’s a gentle tension running throughout “Shadowboxing” that never fully abates; like the sun in the middle of summer, Connolly comes to life with a radiant and unrelenting heat, demanding our undivided attention as she spills a heavy heart and restless soul with a charm, passion, and intensity that would make the likes of Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn proud.

Watch the music video for “Shadowboxing” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and be sure to listen to Hannah Connolly’s beautifully vulnerable and equally mesmerizing sophomore album, out now!

Busy living on the outside
Don’t tell me white lies
It’s been at high tide now
For a year

— —

:: stream/purchase Shadowboxing here ::
:: connect with Hannah Connolly here ::
Stream: “Shadowboxing” – Hannah Connolly



— — — —

Shadowboxing - Hannah Connolly

Connect to Hannah Connolly on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Cody Ackors

Shadowboxing

an album by Hannah Connolly



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