“Sheep” by Save Her Sheep (Mary Lawson) | Sonata Sessions

Save Her Sheep, a.k.a. Mary Lawson, who writes and performs under the moniker Mesonjixx and with the band Xion, respectfully acknowledges her musical forebears in the latest Sonata Session entry.

But rather than let that knowledge pin her down, she uses it as an enterprising child might a Lego set. Ditch the instruction manual and build something new out of the same pieces.

The minimalistic, quarter-note piano part in her song “Sheep” recalls a parlour piece, content to stand sullen, quietly directing the atmosphere in the background while conversation, or in this case, Lawson’s voice, takes the fore.

For the vocals, Lawson pulls from what seems like a background in, or at least familiarity with, both the jazz-concerned Ella Fitzgeralds and the lyrically-dense Sharon Van Ettens of the world. Lawson is neither confined or defined by those parameters, though, as she swings her voice to the delicate heights and powerful depths of her register.

In that way, Save Her Sheep teeters carefully between intimate, slow-burning ballad and bold, bumpy self-reflection.

See Mesonjixx and Jacoby Vann perform at The Tugboat in Lincoln on Saturday at 6:30. RSVP here.