Shenandoah & The Night are back with the distinctive pop noir sound they perfected since the release of their first EP in May 2011. “So Low, So High” is their new single, a track that shows the direction Shenandoah Ableman is willing to take her unique brand of songwriting. Displaying the key elements — a strong melodic sense, remarkable musicianship and a spellbinding voice — that made the band's debut such an enthralling experience, the New York band expands its territory with a haunting string arrangement. And while Shenandoah & The Night remains an acoustic affair, the new song’s subtle but significant shift to keyboards is reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti’s work with Julee Cruise.
Ethereal and voluptuous, the music is nevertheless powerful and driving: “So Low, So High” was written during a rather dark period”, explains the singer. It was a prayer for my family and a nod towards Arthur Russell's "This Is How We Walk On The Moon. I think it speaks to artists, but more importantly, to anyone dealing with any type of struggle. Little steps bring us closer, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time.”
Beyond the one it was intended for in the first place, “So Low, So High” is an exhilarating number that will no doubt lift the spirits of many. Spring is finally here and Shenandoah & The Night are providing the soundtrack. If cherry blossoms were songs, they would probably sound like this.
Shenandoah Ableman - Vocals
Seth Johnson - Guitar
Sean Hutchinson - Drums
Mitchell Yoshida - Piano, keyboard, Farfisa accordion
Debut EP in May 15th, 2011
'So low, So High' single release with Family Records May 8th, 2012
Gig Alert - WNYC
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It’s a little hard to listen to the airy baroque pop of Shenandoah and the Night and not imagine the...It’s a little hard to listen to the airy baroque pop of Shenandoah and the Night and not imagine the majestic national park and valley of the same name. Perhaps it’s because the three-year-old Brooklyn quartet’s music evokes an evening in the Shenandoah Valley: lush, starry and filled with nocturnal cool.
It may come as a surprise then that the “Shenandoah” in the band’s name refers to frontwoman Shenandoah Ableman, a seasoned cabaret jazz singer who shifted from performing in burlesque shows to leading the group in early 2011. Ableman is joined in the group by drummer Sean Hutchinson, guitarist Seth Johnson and multi-instrumentalist and back-up vocalist Mitchell Yoshida.
Shenandoah and the Night’s self-titled EP was released last May. The four-piece followed up the debut five-track of doo wop, rhythm-and-blues and country-inflected pop with a new single, “So Low, So High,” which came out last week. The catchy, optimistic tune is available for download above. It is also performed in the video below.
SHENANDOAH AND THE NIGHT’S 3 MINUTE MASTERPIECE
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Last year, our friends over at Family Records began a single series called One Track Mind in which t...Last year, our friends over at Family Records began a single series called One Track Mind in which they team up with an up-and-coming artist and put out just one track (duh). In the past, they’ve teamed up with the elegant Lacrymosa as well as enigmatic British band Anothers Blood, but they might just have outdone themselves with their latest.
Shenandoah and the Night is a Brooklyn-based four piece whose single, “So Low, So High”, is a lush composition that brings to the table obvious glimpses of Florence and the Machine and, to a lesser degree, Ellie Goulding. Frontwoman Shenandoah Ableman’s daring vocals are paired quite perfectly with powerful percussion and carefully arranged strings, making the song a sprawling 3 minute masterpiece.
You can buy the song for 79¢ on the Family Records website (here) or just stream it below.
Shenandoah — Grace Slick meets Cat Power
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The distinctive NYC-based quintet Shenandoah and the Night announces the May release of their self-t...The distinctive NYC-based quintet Shenandoah and the Night announces the May release of their self-titled debut EP, a moody pop offering which draws on everything from doo wop, old time rhythm and blues, folk and country to retro-fitted German cabaret.
Led by the bewitching singer/songwriter/producer Shenandoah Ableman (of the San Francisco-based Yard Dogs Road Show), Shenandoah and the Night offer a haunting, noir-ish sound counter-balanced by bursts of joy and infectious energy. Rootsy enough for folk enthusiasts without sacrificing its modernist edge, Shenandoah and the Night cast a wide net across the spectrums of taste and time, blending and blurring a diverse set of influences that range from the operatic anguish of Nina Simone and Kurt Weill, to the dusky psychedelic sturm und drang of the Doors and Janis Joplin.
“I don’t think of Shenandoah and the Night as traditional anything,” Ableman explains. “But our music does draw on the storytelling traditions of folk and bluegrass in that it describes the punishments and pleasures of life on the road… Sometimes, to do what you love you have to go away from those that you love.”
Four of the five songs on Shenandoah and the Night were written by Ableman herself: “So Fine,” “All the Beautiful Ladies,” “These Arms” and “So Long.” The EP’s lone cover track, the 1908 John Lomax find “Dink’s Song,” a.k.a. “Fare Thee Well,” maintains the original’s broken-hearted longing, coaxed through a cleverly uplifting doo wop arrangement.
While the majority of the EP’s tracks were self-produced, the cataclysmic single “These Arms” emerged from collaboration with the New York City-based singer/songwriter Rusty Santos (known for his work with Brooklyn indie it-kids Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Ariel Pink and others).
A native of the deep and drizzled forests of Northern California, Shenandoah was raised in a musical family that included a fiddle-playing father and a mandolin-playing mother who all but nursed her on the old-time traditions and standards.
“I grew up going to bluegrass and folk festivals, and, while I don’t necessarily specialize in that type of music, it does have an influence,” says Ableman. “But what we are doing also draws on doo wop, old R&B and some old country. At its heart, Shenandoah and the Night is telling an American story.”
Before earning a BA in jazz vocals from the University of San Francisco in 2001, Ableman made her first studio recording, providing vocals for the electronica outfit Sucia, a timely collaboration with drummer Norville Parchment and guitarist David Schmidt, which rightly drew favorable comparisons to Portishead and Massive Attack.
Less than a year later Ableman traded the trendy down tempo drum and bass for a classy set of pasties and the promise of endless hijinks, signing on for an eight-year stint as a singer and burlesque dancer with the infamous Bay-Area experience known as the Yard Dogs Road Show, a wildly theatrical outfit self-described as “a hobo cabaret, a living patchwork of vaudeville and rock and roll.”
Combining live music with everything from sword swallowing to belly dancing and vaudevillian slapstick, the Yard Dogs Road Show has graced thousands of stages on both sides of the pond, earning a multitude of favorable nods and accolades, including Spin Magazine’s Best of 2007. Performing under the handle of “Shenandoah Sassafras,” Ableman matured and refined her talents as a vocalist, songwriter and arranger, while also learning a thing or two about high-kicks, rhinestones and feather fans—none of which is lost in her newest endeavor.
“When we perform ‘All the Beautiful Ladies’ live, I do a tight little feather fan dance,” Ableman notes. “There is a bit of dancing throughout our show, which incorporates a performative and aesthetic element that is definitely a reflection of my experience with the Yard Dogs Road Show.”
Ableman-as-Sassafras can be heard on the Yard Dogs’ 2009 EP, September Summer, which includes her song “Crazy Love” and the intriguing “Bokonon” (a track that combines Ableman’s original music with a prayer cribbed from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle).
In 2008 Ableman left the windy hills of San Francisco to settle in Brooklyn, New York, where she slowly developed her songs while recruiting a cast of musicians and collaborators that soon coalesced into the eponymous outfit we hear today. In addition to Ableman, Shenandoah and the Night consists of Seth Johnson on guitar, Miles Mullin on bass, Sean Hutchinson (of New Monsoon) on drums and Kwame Brandt-Pierce (of Saul Williams) on accordion, keyboards, acoustic piano and organ.
Shenandoah and the Night have been steadily building an enthusiastic following in and around New York City, and, with the release of their self-titled debut album (to be followed by a regional tour), the band is set to climb higher with every mile logged on the road.
“After all these years of crooning and shaking a tail feather with the Yard Dogs, I feel ready to take this new sound on the road” Ableman says. “This is a new chapter, backed and brought to fruition by some of the most amazing people and musicians I’ve ever had the honor of sharing a stage with…All of which is coming to theatre, or speaker, near you very, very soon.”
Shenandoah and the Night
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Family Records has been introducing us to their music one track at a time via their One Track Mind S...Family Records has been introducing us to their music one track at a time via their One Track Mind Series. This time it's Shenandoah And The Night and "So Low, So High"-- a musical orchestration of epic proportions fronted by some the mystical vocals of Shenandoah Ableman. There must've been some impressive genetic engineering going on because she sounds like Florence Welch and Natalie Khan combined. Here's the bands uplifting song about overcoming the painful obstacles of life. If you like what you hear, purchase here.
Getting down with DeVotchKa
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I came into the show midway through the set by opening act Shenandoah and the Night, and entered at ...I came into the show midway through the set by opening act Shenandoah and the Night, and entered at a particularly eye-catching moment, just as vocalist Shenandoah Abelman was engaging in a seductive dance number involving giant plumed hand-held fans and a minor amount of PG-rated stripping. The whole vibe was kinda like if Cat Power or Feist took a burlesque class and set what they learned to a cool indie-rock soundtrack. How she waved those ostrich feathers while holding onto a microphone that she sang into while dancing I’ll never know. It was a nice bit of multi-tasking.
L’album à découvrir de la semaine : Shenandoah and the Night – Shenandoah and the Night EP
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C’est souvent quand on s’y attend le moins que surviennent ces petits moments touchés par la grâce… ...C’est souvent quand on s’y attend le moins que surviennent ces petits moments touchés par la grâce… Il y a une semaine, je fouinais péniblement sur Bandcamp, dans l’espoir de découvrir quelques petites perles musicales. Alors que je me perdais en clics infructueux, une voix est venue tout éclairer, celle de Shenandoah Ableman. Pendant un moment, le temps a semblé ralentir et je me suis laissé envoûter sans compter par le charme du premier cinq titres de ce groupe New-Yorkais.
Et puis est arrivé l’heure du week-end et son lot de trajets en voiture loin de toute connexion à Internet. Ne pouvant envisager sérieusement une séparation si soudaine, j’ai donc de façon assez impulsive versé les 5$ réclamés par le groupe pour le téléchargement de leurs morceaux (en version FLAC bien entendu, histoire de profiter pleinement de la très haute qualité d’enregistrement de l’ensemble). Et depuis je ne me lasse pas d’écouter encore et encore le surprenant So Fine, qui m’a interpellé dès la première écoute… mais aussi le plus classique (et pour cause, il s’agit d’un traditionnel) Dink’s Song, l’envoûtant All The Beautiful Ladies, le plus entraînant So Long et enfin le déchirant These Arms. C’est sans doute pour des situations comme celle-là qu’a été inventée l’expression « coup de cœur »…
Vous le constaterez par vous-même, tout est réussi dans ce premier EP : composition, arrangements, mélodies, symbiose entre les différents musiciens, voix à tomber par terre, qualité de l’enregistrement… Personnellement j’aime beaucoup également le jeu de Sean Hutchinson à la batterie, tout en toucher et en finesse d’interprétation. Il arrive à donner une belle consistance à son instrument, lui conférant une place prépondérante dans la superbe ambiance qui règne sur des titres comme So Fine ou All The Beautiful Ladies. Et comme le reste de la troupe n’est pas en reste, cela nous donne assurément un nom à retenir pour les années à venir (même s’il est loin d’être évident à mémoriser) !
Je l’avoue, je ne sais pas combien de temps je vais résister avant de le mettre à disposition des usagers de la médiathèque où je travaille… et je ne peux que vous encourager bien évidemment à récompenser le groupe par ces 5 $ bien mérités. Pour ma part, je pense que s’il y avait eu une option « name your price » j’aurais mis un peu plus (7-8$) après ces quelques jours d’écoute. Mais comme le prix de départ est de 5$ et que j’ai déjà donné… à vous de jouer !
The Mus-o-meter registers Shenandoah and the Night's self-titled EP
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Emotional. Gorgeous. Sad. Haunting. Celebratory. That’s how the frontwoman of Shenandoah and the Nig...Emotional. Gorgeous. Sad. Haunting. Celebratory. That’s how the frontwoman of Shenandoah and the Night describes the songs on the band’s forthcoming self-titled album (you can catch them live on Saturday at Brooklyn Bowl). Those serve it well, but we thought we’d also refer to the math of the Mus-o-meter to give you a sense of what this new act brings to the scene.
Take the moody, husky vocals of Cat Power’s 2006 album, “The Greatest.” Then add the longing, melancholy lyrics of Feist’s 2004 break-out album, “Let It Die.” Then add a touch of doo-wop from The Shirelles 1961 debut, “Tonight’s the Night.” The result? Shenandoah and the Night’s new self-titled EP.
Casting a Wide Net
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by Travis Downs Offering a scintillating mix of melancholy and joy, S h e n a n d o a h A n d T h ...by Travis Downs
Offering a scintillating mix of melancholy
and joy, S h e n a n d o a h A n d T h e N i g h t are
touching down at Red Hook Bait and Tackle
on March 12 and following it up with an arrival
at Ro ck woo d on M ar c h 3 1. When choosing
musicians for her band, Shenandoah Ableman
looked for players that would help establish
a sound that “draws on doo wop, old R&B and
some country” on their self titled debut. With
this in mind, she hired Seth Johnson, Miles
Mullen, Sean Hutchinson and Kwame Brandt-
Pierce. The show starts at 9 p.m. on the 12th
and midnight on the 31 s t.
NYC Artists on the rise: Shenandoah' sensual decadentism at Bar 4, 01.21
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“Shenandoah and the Night is a band with en plein air picnics on its mind and a nightingale in its h...“Shenandoah and the Night is a band with en plein air picnics on its mind and a nightingale in its heart. Steeped in the tradition of American folk with elements of doo-wop, and haunting vocals, their music maps out cinematic landscapes and nostalgic love scenes.”- Deli Magazine
Kind of in Love
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Kind Of In Love I know that Tara is our resident go to girl on hot new artists but I just had to ...Kind Of In Love
I know that Tara is our resident go to girl on hot new artists but I just had to give a shout out to my new fav band: Shenandoah and the Night. The music is sexy and smooth and for some reason inspires me to wish for downright hot weather just so I can listen to it out on my terrace sipping a Manhattan under the moonlight. Not to mention the fact that the band members are technically talented (not every band can say that– let’s be honest) with resumes that read like an introduction at the grammys. And let’s not forget (how could we?) that the three guys that back total hottie Shenandoah are a pretty wide variety of cute-as-hell themselves. So if you’re just that kind of guy / girl and you need a night of serious eye candy — come down to Rockwood Music Hall on the 31st (next Thursday). They’ll even throw in the soundtrack to your swoon.
Shenandoah and the Night EP Release
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If EPs are to full-length albums as wine tastings are to a bottle, then Shenandoah and the Night del...If EPs are to full-length albums as wine tastings are to a bottle, then Shenandoah and the Night deliver a tasty sip of sweet and tart white that you wish you had enough to get drunk off of. This isn’t to say that I know much about wine, but I do know class when I hear it.
Over the course of five songs, Shenandoah and the Night swirl in jazz, folk, blues, and this contemporary alt. folk we’re yet to properly name. Shenandoah’s voice is unique, with a strained warble, a wide range; something like Eddie Vedder’s soul singing, soprano, Brooklyn-based younger sister.
“So fine” is sultry, featuring Miles Mullin’s upright bass and Seth Johnson’s stripped down guitar play. With the intent on minimalism, Shenandoah Ableman sings over a tight groove. “You’re fine fine fine,” she sings. “You’re mine mine mine,” as Sean Hutchinson comes in with a solid kick keeping time and sprinkled toms, building until it blooms.
But whether it’s the traditional, “Dink’s Song”, with a 50’s doo-wop piano rhythm, ooh’ing backing vocals, and the lines, “Early one morning/tears, they rained,” or “These Arms”, a slow-paced tear-jerker fueled by Kwame Brandt-Pierce’s organ, Shenandoah and the Night utilize the sort of classic templates that have made groups like She & Him so successful. It’s a nod to simpler times.
The key track, and the one that gives Shenandoah and the Night a foundation to build their sound on, is “All the Beautiful Ladies”. The way Shenandoah can sing one word with so much history and heart, such as “Louisiana,” turns a phrase into a memory. With well-cued horns, this song has a groove that’s impossible to beat.
For an EP, this one says a lot. Any of its songs deserve to be on a mix for a dinner party, or, hell, a wine tasting. Shenandoah mentions Tennessee, Arizona, and also looks inward to the heart and its intricacies. She’s got style, and The Night complement her like stars around a moon.
Shenandoah and the Night EP
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Based on the name alone, it would be easy to get the impression this is some sort of old school folk...Based on the name alone, it would be easy to get the impression this is some sort of old school folk outfit, named for the celebrated river that inspired the traditional tune of the same name. As for The Night… well, such arcane references usually inspire shadowy musings, which would account for that portion of the billing as well. Surprisingly then, an initial listen to the group’s eponymous EP tosses these assumptions aside, because aside from one hoary cover, “Dink’s Song,” the material is both contemporary and compelling, sans sepia tinting. Appropriately, Shenandoah Ableman is the star of this show, and if her handle seems somewhat unconventional, her delivery is anything but. She’s a soul singer in the truest sense, zealous and invested, a talent whose twist of a phrase and adroit enunciation indicates she’s well versed in her craft. From the searing first stanzas of “So Fine,” through “Dink’s Song” and its resplendent serenade, and on to the torch song testimonial “All the Beautiful Ladies,” Ableman’s powerful performances create a consistently emphatic impression. With all due respect to her colleagues, Shenandoah makes The Night shine bright.
Bright Days Ahead for Shenandoah and the night
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What do bluegrass, jazz and burlesque all have in common? They’re all part of Shenandoah Ableman’s m...What do bluegrass, jazz and burlesque all have in common? They’re all part of Shenandoah Ableman’s musical influences. Her band, Shenandoah and the Night, also incorporates elements of folk, old school soul, doo-wop and psychedelia to create a sound she describes as “moody, nostalgic and dark…there’s a longing to it.” Bursts of joy and infectious energy also punctuate the group’s music, adding to its appealingly eclectic flavor.
Raised by a bluegrass fiddling dad and mandolin playing mom in northern California, Shenadoah grew up going to music festivals. “It’s kind of in my blood,” she says, adding that from the day she first performed for her parents her career path “was never in doubt.” She was already singing professionally when she enrolled at the University of San Francisco where she honed her singing skills while earning a BA in jazz vocals.
Less than a year later she began an eight-year stint as Sassafras, a singer and burlesque dancer with the Yard Dogs Road Show whose unique amalgam of vaudeville, cabaret and rock ‘n’ roll attracted a loyal cult following as well as critical acclaim. Shenandoah still uses some of the moves she learned from that experience. “There is a bit of dancing throughout our show. When we perform All the Beautiful Ladies, I do a tight little feather fan dance.”
Her songwriting is influenced by “the punishments and pleasures of life on the road,” but tempered with a feeling of “wanting to go home,” which explains her being “pulled,” as she puts it, 3,000 miles across the country. “My grandparents and great-Grandparents are from Brooklyn, so it seemed like I was coming home.” She met her band mates en route to her current home in Brooklyn where Shenandoah and the Night ultimately coalesced and began building an enthusiastic following. In addition to Ableman, the group consists of guitarist Seth Johnson, bassist Miles Mullin, drummer Sean Hutchinson and Kwame Brandt-Pierce on accordion, piano and organ.
Shenadoah and the Night were quick to take advantage of the “access to wonderful people and studios” that the borough provides. While the group produced most of their self-titled debut EP themselves, the achingly beautiful single These Arms was a collaboration with singer/songwriter Rusty Santos, known for his work with other Brooklyn indie artists such as Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance.
Shenadoah also has high praise for several of Brooklyn’s performance venues, singling out Zebulon for its “intimacy and great sound.” If you missed the group’s shows there, at Brooklyn Bowl or at Red Hook Bait and Tackle earlier this year, or their Memorial weekend EP release party at Spike Hill, you can catch them across the river at Bryant Park on July 13.
Deli CD of the Month
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Shenandoah Ableman has the rare ability to turn any genre into a voluptuous experience. Comfortable ...Shenandoah Ableman has the rare ability to turn any genre into a voluptuous experience. Comfortable singing in front of styles ranging from German cabaret to doo wop, her quintet Shenandoah & the Night are bringing sexy back... one sultry style at a time. The band's new self-titled debut EP showcases this sensuality with deep confidence through a series of songs steeped in the tradition of American folk, but featuring a very un-American, almost overwhelming, nostalgic power - in the most literal and decadent definition of "romanticism". These songs ("So Fine" and "All The Beautiful Ladies" deserve a honorable mention) make us flirt with "dangerous" thoughts like the fragility of love, the desire for the lost past, the unreachability of perfect happiness, our vain but primary quest for beauty. They might not make us jump or feel happy - but the do make us feel alive. Can you afford to ignore it? - See Shenandoah & the Night live at Southpaw on June 30th.
Shenandoah and the Night
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Shenandoah and the Night - With lead singer Shenandoah Ableman offering up a helping of noir style (...Shenandoah and the Night - With lead singer Shenandoah Ableman offering up a helping of noir style (both in her costume and vocals), this band stood apart from many of the other folk or indie groups. Blending the genres, Shenandoah and the Night has the uncanny ability to spread joy.
Shenandoah & The Night chic vaudeville chick
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Shenandoah Ableman has the rare ability to turn any genre into a voluptuous experience. Comfortable ...Shenandoah Ableman has the rare ability to turn any genre into a voluptuous experience. Comfortable singing in front of styles ranging from German cabaret to doo wop, her quintet Shenandoah and the Night are bringing sexy back... one sultry style at a time. The band's new self-titled debut EP showcases this sensuality with deep confidence through a series of songs steeped in the tradition of American folk, but featuring a very un-American, almost overwhelming, nostalgic power - in the most literal and decadent definition of "These songs", "So Fine" and "All The Beautiful Ladies" deserve a honorable mention) make us flirt with thoughts like the fragility of love, the desire for the lost past, the unreachability of perfect happiness, our vain but primary quest for beauty. They might not make us jump or feel happy - but the do make us feel alive. Can you afford to ignore it?
Tell me about your showmanship. Your live shows can take me on quite a journey.
I spent many years, eight and a half, touring the states and Europe performing with a very elaborate stage show, the Yard Dogs, developing costumes, dances, music, learning to project energetically and engage with the audience or try to.
Do you try to put some of this showmanship into your recordings as well?
I have much more experience developing live performances then I do recording, reaching the energy of a live show in the studio is my ultimate goal. Perhaps after answering this review I will start wearing my show clothes in the studio, it might add an element of tension. There is something about the weight of my black fringe dress and the shake of the beads that even while rehearsing make me up the ante.
What was it like recording at the Bunker? What inspired some of the diverse instrumentation on your latest release?
The bunker is great, it has tons of old and new equipment and Aaron Nevezie is an excellent engineer. He knows his equipment, and helps move things along, he also has a great ear and catches little things tonally and rhythmically that you might not notice right away.
I love the Buttermilk Channel (where you can catch Ableman repping Carrol Gardens) and understand it helps pay the bills... But I'm wondering if you are a big supporter of local establishments/scenes in general? If so, what neighborhood bands have you been listening to?
There are so many great bands coming out of Brooklyn as we all know, but in terms of my neighbors making great music, most recently I've been listening to People's Champs and Dark Lights.
I get the feeling you folks are really thinking big behind this project. Are you thinking of releasing a full-length at some point?
Yes, there are definitely a couple songs hatching in the basement, along with a video...
Tell me what you drew you to cover Dink's Song in your EP? It's the least folk version I've ever heard of the jam!
I started messing around with a couple traditionals and while re-arranging Dink's Song I was very drawn to a little motif and it kind of steered the direction of the whole tune until we got into the studio. Then nineteen fifties style piano part just happened, which then begged for a BB king style guitar solo... good times.
by Mike Levine
Shenandoah and the Night
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Shenandoah Ableman has come to New York by way of San Francisco, bringing with her a flair for the d...Shenandoah Ableman has come to New York by way of San Francisco, bringing with her a flair for the dramatic and an eclectic mix of sounds that she refers to as “Pop Noir.” It‘s dark, haunting, moody and atmospheric, counterbalanced with bursts of joy and infectious energy.
The Night, her backup band, is made up of luminaries from around the New York area who come from a variety of backgrounds themselves. Guitarist Seth Johnson and acoustic bassist Miles Mullin have been a part of the New York City jazz scene, while drummer Sean Hutchinson has played with San Francisco jam rock group New Monsoon, as well as members of the Allman Brother Band, the Neville Brothers, the Meters, Santana, Talking Heads and Be´la Fleck.The group is rounded out by Kwame Brandt-Pierce on keyboards, accordion and acoustic piano.
Shenandoah was raised in a musical family that included a fiddle-playing father and a mandolin-playing mother. She spent her early days with a steady diet of old-time standards and traditional folk music.
“I grew up going to bluegrass and folk festivals,” recalls Shenandoah. “And while I don’t necessarily specialize in that type of music, it does have an influence. But what we are doing also draws on doo-wop, oldR&Bandsomeoldcountry.Atitsheart, Shenandoah And The Night are telling an American story.”
Shenandoah went on to earn a BA in jazz vocals from the University of San Francisco, but her love of theatrics led her to don pasties, spending eight years as a singer and burlesque dancer for the infamous Yard Dogs Road Show, a Bay Area-based musical cabaret group that has performed thousands of shows both in the U.S. and in Europe, earning a spot in Spin Magazine’s “Best of 2007” issue.
Shenandoah has kept some of the theatricality in her new band, utilizing her background with high kicks, rhinestones and feathers to create a new experience. “When we perform ‘All The Beautiful Ladies’ live, I do a tight little feather fan dance,” she notes. “There is a bit of dancing throughout our show, which incorporates a performative and aesthetic element that is definitely a reflection of my experience with the Yard Dogs Road Show.”
Shenandoah And The Night have been
steadily building an enthusiastic following in and around New York City, and with the release of their self-titled debut album, the band is set to head out on the road.
Musically, the songs come to Shenandoah in a variety of ways, but most often when she’s walking. “I don’t have one way of starting a song,” she says. “Often it starts from walking and singing. When I get stuck I go for a walk too. I sing different parts and see how they fit together melodically, then figure out the chords. Sometimes I start with the chord structure and sing words and a melody over a recording of a section. I think being open to different approaches iskey.
“My musical influences are travel, life on the road, love and longing. My father is a major influence. He is a fiddle player and I grew up listening to folk, bluegrass and old country ring out from my dad’s band in the living room, and also Nina Simone and Kurt Weill, to the dusky psychedelic sturm und drang of the Doors and Janis Joplin.”
Four of the five songs on the new release were written by Shenandoah, including “So Fine,” “All The Beautiful Ladies,” “These Arms” and “So Long.” The lone cover track, a 1908 John Lomax song called “Dink’s Song,” which is also known as “Fare Thee Well,” maintains the original version spirit, but is given an uplifting doo-wop arrangement.
While the majority of the tracks were self- produced, one of the songs, “These Arms,” was a collaboration with the New York City- based singer/songwriter Rusty Santos, who is known for his work with underground favorites such as Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance and Ariel Pink.
Shenandoah has very specific goals for the project, and what she wants to accomplish in terms of her art, including keeping the factors that make it so different at the forefront. “I would like to continue to develop a very unique sound and stage show, that makes music that moves people to tear up and cling closer to their loved ones,” she says. “I don’t think of Shenandoah And The Night as traditional anything. But our music does draw on the storytelling traditions of folk and bluegrass in that it describes the punishments and pleasures of life on the road. Sometimes, to do what you love you have to go away from those that you love.”
The moniker of the band is an apt description of how she envisions the group. “Shenandoah is my given name,” she says. “And ‘the night’ is expansive and mysterious, all encompassing.”
For further information, and to find out about upcoming appearances, check out shenandoahandthenight.com.
Light in G
Dance in B minor
PDF RiderShenandoah An The Night Stage Plot 2011
There are no upcoming dates at this time.