Shannon Wright lets you in

Shannon Wright, The Holy Sons
The Blackbird 503-282-9949.
It is a difficult task to put in words proper description of Shannon Wright and her music. She is not breaking any ground, as far as the advancement of avant-garde music is concerned, but she is a gem to the cause.

What, ask you, is the cause? I would say the “cause” is something that is 100 percent real and gives you the feeling that the artists are offering you a true-to-heart performance. I see so many talented artists try to maneuver their stage presence into what Wright encompasses naturally. She does not at all give you the feeling that any thing she does is contrived. To tell you the truth, whenever I see her live, I honestly shed a tear. Watching her perform gives one a window into her soul. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but watching this woman perform live is like going back in time and watching her write her songs, in her bedroom as an uncomfortable adolescent.

This originality and sincere artistry has given Wright quite a name in the world of singer/songwriters. I hate to use the title singer/songwriter because it gives one the image of a minimalist work of art, and she is so much more than that. She provides the variety of emotions of an entire closely connected band in one person.

Wright originally came from Jacksonville, Fla. Although Jacksonville was not the hotbed of national attention, it did have a thriving all-ages scene in the mid-1980s and early ’90s. Florida is notoriously a state for bands to bypass, so this existence of punk and independent music was indeed a rare Mecca. It was from here that Wright formed her first band, Crowsdell. The band became a favorite live act throughout the American South and Europe, while playing with bands like The Dirty Three and Pavement. Wright felt compelled to take the courageous next step in her life and career and moved to NY, N.Y. Tiring of New York’s dark side and pessimistic over saturated music scene, Wright decided to take on a more simplistic lifestyle and move once again. She sold nearly everything she owned, and moved from New York to live in a vacant guest worker’s house on some farm property in North Carolina.

It was here that Shannon wrote, with the aid of a neighbor’s piano, the majority of her debut solo album, Flight Safety (1999). Wright found herself tired of the hype machines and labels of her past and signed on with the very fitting Quarterstick/Touch and Go records, which made her feel quit at home.

Flight Safety is a testament to Wright’s craft as a songwriter. This album documents, in the medium of notes and privately sincere lyrics, the soul of Wright’s life journey. She threw herself into this album in a deeply personal manner, not seen by the grand majority of artist today. On this album, and in general all of her albums, Wright plays nearly all the instruments, including guitar, bass, piano, strings, drums, keyboards, and, of course, her instantly recognizable vocals. A few close friends have aided Wright over the years like Sibel Firat, Joey Burns and Erich Bachman, who helped fill out the albums. Wright has toured constantly throughout the years with the likes of one of my all time favorites, Low. Her albums have attained well-deserved critical acclaim and a multitude of press attention.

The new album, Maps of Tacit (Touch & Go), is the latest and greatest in Wright’s quest for perfection. She is not far off the mark on this amazing piece of work; it rightfully finds its own distinct place in her oeuvre. The album lets loose the hint that its birthplace was on the road that Shannon has grown accustomed to. These songs were born in a live setting in rock clubs where plain subtle, quiet music is not always in comfortable quarters. These songs plead and demand for an attentive audience in order to capture that outlet. What sets Wright apart from so many songwriters is the sometimes frightening intensity of her live shows. If you want to be a fly on the wall and experience the brave and creative soul of Shannon Wright, then do so and shed a tear with me at The Blackbird on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The mighty Holy Sons will bless us with their soft handed, heart-felt ballads, too. The boys from the Holy Sons are rumored to be finishing up their new album so keep a close eye out for that piece of gold. By going to this show you will be receiving, or reviving, your much needed dose of quality artistry, which is getting harder and harder to find these days.