The title story, The Juniper Tree, tells the tale of two siblings and their wicked stepmother.
"It's one of those Grimm fairy tales that's not really ever going to be made into a Disney film," says Cordray. "It's got infanticide, cannibalism, revenge and the magical element of transformation."
After reading, Cordray and her sister Dixie Griffin thought the story could be turned into a concept album; they had been listening to a lot of rock operas at the time, which inspired the idea. The sisters played around with songwriting, but nothing came to fruition. Cordray revisited the idea during graduate school when she had more time for writing music.
Upon finishing the songs, she assembled a group of musicians and started recording the album during the fall of 2015. She worked with Wil Reeves at Centro Cellar Studios under the band name The Reliquaries.
Now, ten years after reading the fairy tale, Cordray's album will finally be released during a True/False music showcase.
"The project was really about nostalgia and thinking about my childhood – both the good and the bad of my time back home," Cordray says. "A lot of it is about themes of child abuse as well, because that's something my sisters and I kind of had to endure."
In the fairy tale, one of the siblings is murdered by the stepmother and reincarnates as a beautiful bird. "That part really resonated with me and it did when we were kids, but as an adult, it took on a different meaning," Cordray says. "I started going through the writing process [of] channeling ideas and themes behind the story without actually recreating the drama."
The folk sound on the album derives from Ozark and Appalachian folk music that Cordray grew up with in the northernmost part of Ozark, Missouri. "When I was writing music for the album, I wanted to recreate some of those sounds of my own heritage, but also give them an updated and contemporary feel," she says.
As True/False approached, Reeves suggested the group apply to busk at the film fest. Cordray didn't expect to receive a slot for a full show, but when the opportunity came about, she saw it as a deadline to finish The Juniper Tree.
The six-person set will take the stage at Landmark Bank Courtyard on Friday and perform songs from the new album along with traditional folk songs. CD copies of The Juniper Tree will be on sale at the venue for $12, and are available here for presale online.