With her new album, August, Shannon Lay challenges us to be joyous. She makes a case for celebration and for perseverance and for life. It is somehow shocking (in a good way!), which speaks volumes about not only the record itself, but also about our current society. Wallowing in sadness is relatable; ruminating on joy isn’t so safe.
See Shannon Lay perform at any of her upcoming shows, including June 15 at Love Song Bar and June 18 as part of the ACLU Benefit at the Echoplex. Expect the new album on August 23 and listen to Shannon Lay’s new singles below.
There are several descriptions of August that I am trying to resist. Of course it is inspiring—the title track and thus impetus for the album is about when Lay quit her day job in late summer of 2017. Across the record she sings of freedom and imparts wisdom about love’s purity, as in “Wild”: “Simple as a heart big as love.” Of course it is heavy—“I’ll always know how hard it is to get through,” she says, acknowledging her struggle toward the end of the album. Her harmonies are beautiful and lofty and, like anything with emotional weight, leaves an impression.
August builds your trust. There is no shortage of mantras embedded in this record’s lyrics. The very first song sounds morbid, even tripping on the first few strums of a guitar, but eventually it offers a tender, “I love you.”
Lay proclaims in the title track, “I can decide!” and, in “Sunday Sundown,” “You don’t know how much you deserve!” But beyond the cathartic one-liners, Lay teaches us to heal: “You must find your own way outside of time.”
Shannon Lay will be performing at the Love Song Bar on June 15, and the show is free. You can find tickets to her Echoplex gig on June 18 here. Shannon Lay will be touring with Mikal Cronin this fall; find the dates below.
Nov 9 – Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, Canada
Nov 10 – Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Nov 14 – Turf Club, St. Paul, MN
Nov 15 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
Nov 16 – Deluxx Fluxx, Detriot, MI
Nov 17 – Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Canada
Nov 18 – Bar le Ritz, Montreal, Canada
Nov 19 – Great Scott, Allston, MA
Nov 20 – Bowery Ballroom, New York City, NY
Nov 22 – Underground Arts, Philadelphia , PA
Nov 23 – U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
Nov 24 – Motorco Music Hall, Durham, NC
Nov 25 – The Earl, Atlanta, GA
Nov 26 – One Eyed Jacks, New Orleans, LA
Nov 27 – Barracuda, Austin, TX
Nov 30 – 191 Toole, Tuscon, AZ
Dec 1 – Casbah, San Diego, CA