Every once in awhile, you’ll listen to something by an artist you’re completely unfamiliar with and suddenly, your ears perk up and you begin to listen a bit more closely, a bit more intently. And then suddenly, you’re in love.
Meet Shenandoah Davis.
Ms. Davis is a young and exciting songwriter who currently hails from Seattle, a home to many a talented musician. But what makes Davis so unique is her truly distinct, vintage sound, her parloresque piano and her incredibly fascinating vocal instrument.
During her years in college, Davis focused her studies on classical voice, but became disenchanted at what she refers to as the ‘tunnel vision’ in the academic community. So after graduation, she began her to create her own compositions.
In July of last year, Davis’ released her full-length debut, We; Camera, an unforgettable 13-song experience. Possessing a style that lives somewhere within the blurry boundaries of neo-classicism, Davis’ music has been likened to that of harpist Joanna Newsom, although Davis’ key instrument is the piano. At times sparse and thankfully gloss-free, Davis’ songs feel as if they’ve lived in another century and fought their way back to the present day in order to tell their amazing stories.
On the album’s opening track, “Our Favorite Idols,” Davis’ warbling voice is layered to create the effect of an invisible singing sister while deep cello and piano reverberate through the peaks and valleys.
Vibraphone adds softness to “These Rocks,” another highlight and possibly the album’s most accessible track, while “Up & Over” brightly floats with a message of encouragement complete with hand claps and fluttering piano keys.
Other gems include the dramatic piano and crescendos heard in “Hobos And Bulls” and the title track, which I also found immediately infectious.
I can honestly say that my only complaint with Shenandoah Davis is that I’ve just now discovered her.
Buried away in this nesting ground
Excavating stones for the sun dial
Meanwhile I’m carried away in these sailing clouds
And it tears you up to know
~ Shenandoah Davis
We; Camera was originally limited to a release of only 200 copies, each hand-pressed with recyclable materials. Since its release, Davis has released another pressing. And with the help of friend Clyde Peterson, she’s also recently completed a beautiful stop-motion video for the title track which can be found on YouTube.
Shenandoah Davis, who celebrated her birthday on Valentine’s Day, is currently touring to support We; Camera. For more on this wonderful artist and for a full listing of upcoming dates and venues be sure to check out her MySpace page.
In addition to recording her own music, Davis can also be heard contributing her instrumental talents to fellow Seattleites, Grand Hallway, where she plays accordion and the vibraphone. She also plays accordion, wurlitzer, piano and vibraphone with Jack Wilson & The Wife Stealers.