Today, August 14th, marks the beginning of Kevin Morby’s highly significant summer tour. Why is this important? Why should Blocland readers care? Because, within 15 months of Singing Saw’s release in 2016, Morby has put out his anticipated album City Music, formed Mare Records- an imprint on Woodsist- and signed the label’s first artist and opening act: Shannon Lay. Despite all the grueling ground work paved by Morby, Lay is the focus of this article and she deserves the attention. Guitarist of the psyche-punk band Feels, Lay, like Morby, hadn’t been solo long before gaining notoriety among California’s music scene. Starkly contrasted against her work with Feels, Lay opened an avenue her audience weren’t prepared to explore. With florescent orange hair, combat boots and tattoos this edgy performer appears as though she’ll blow out the speakers with a few power chords. Instead, Lay sits in a chair with her electric guitar in lap and layers riffs so soothing it spins the listener into a transcendental state. Then, startlingly, Lay opens her mouth and out sweeps a celestial voice with a reverb so gentle the lyrics whisper in your ears.
Her single “The Moon’s Detriment”, off the album Living Water, captures the naked vulnerability of her music. But, it’s not unprotected weakness or imperfection that is encountered. What Shannon Lay hands us is a nudity so provoking it breaches our bodies with purity, honest innocence, and solace.
Living Water is set to release September 22, 2017 and you can find her on tour this summer with Kevin Morby.