HEY! You’ll never guess where my next add comes from. Oh, you guessed it already? You guessed it would be from Seattle? Weird that you would guess that, it’s not like every single artist I’m working with right now comes from the same place. Okay it’s not a coincidence: I love Seattle (you’re shocked). But you know what else I love? The music of Shenandoah Davis. It’s totally beautiful and idiosyncratic and her voice is kind of like Joanna Newsom’s or Regina Spektor’s – particularly in that it ranges from warbly/weirdy to the more classically agreed-upon idea of ‘lovely’ – in fact she, like another artist I’ve worked with, is a trained opera singer! But I would not describe her music as ‘operatic’ in any sense except that it is poetic, deeply emotional, and beautiful. Daytrotter agrees! Also she is about to head out on an insanely massive national tour so stay tuned! More below!
THE COMPANY WE KEEP
Immersed in classical music since the fragile age of three, Shenandoah Davis grew up at the bench of her parents’ piano. Continuing her musical studies through college, music at some point became more an occupation than a passion. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in opera performance that she was already certain she would never use, Shenandoah moved from her long-time home of Boulder, Colorado to Seattle, Washington, got a job as a barista and slowly began making her way back to the world of music – this time with her own compositions. In the three years since Shenandoah Davis released her full-length debut We; Camera (2008), she’s toured the US, Japan, and Western Europe, and performed at some of North America’s largest music and arts festivals (SXSW, Bumbershoot, Sasquatch). She’s been featured on KEXP, collaborated with the Seattle Rock Orchestra and Portland Cello Project, recorded and toured as keyboardist for Seattle-based buzz band Grand Hallway, and held a musical residency at the Art Monastery in Umbria, Italy.
Fan-funded through Kickstarter and recorded by Alex Kostelnik in Seattle (with additional recording in Denver and New York), The Company We Keep is fiercely poetic and emotionally artful assertion of her craft. Musically, it’s a natural progression from We; Camera – pulling from her intuitive sonic landscape, with elements of indie pop, classical, ragtime, and American roots music. Her piano continues to leap between rhythms and time signatures, as if it’s following the lyrics down a winding forest trail. At the helm of it all is her classically trained voice – equal parts warbly and powerfully direct – the breeze which tickles tree leaves before billowing into sails.
Thematically, though, it’s much more nuanced and complex. Driven, she says, by “the idea that no one person will ever know the exact same version of you as anyone else, because we are all defined by our experiences,” The Company We Keep presents snapshots of intensely personal moments between two people. From the Saratoga, NY, racetrack and park where she spent her teen years (“The Loudest”) to the home she once shared with a lover (“Separate Houses”), the songs on The Company We Keep tie together the experiences which have brought Davis – and her music – this far. The question the album seems to raise comes in “Throne,” where she sings, “Do you keep track of where all your seeds have been sown?” Underscoring the record’s impressive cohesion, she answers for herself in the final track. When its refrain (“Don’t go anywhere without me now”) repeats, the lesson becomes clear. Such a thing would be impossible – for Davis, at least, it would seem the “seeds” are never left behind.
RIYL: Joanna Newsom, Regina Spektor, St. Vincent, Grand Hallway, Parenthetical Girls
Start With: 8, 5, 9, 10 FCC CLEAN
Contact me for a download link!