(photo: Joe Dominguez)
One of my most anticipated releases of ’14 Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray Lean Into The Wind doesn’t disappoint Miss Shevaughn’s vocals move heaven and earth while Yuma and crew keep it all firmly tethered to Terra firma, releasing March 25th put it on your essential listening list
Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray were on a train traveling to get treatment for Miss Shevaughn's recently diagnosed cervical cancer in early 2013.
“We decided three important things on that train ride,” says Yuma Wray, “We decided to set a date for our wedding (March 1, 2014), to push ahead with the already booked spring tour and to write this album not knowing at all what the future would bring.”Lean Into the Wind, the second full-length album from hard touring rock band Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray is the product of a year plagued by the chaos of friends passing, illness, depression and self-doubt, but also one of adventure, travel, friendship and the kinds of life events that ultimately help us to cut through the noise.
“We had a pretty emotional year, I don’t think you can assign one emotion to something as complex as a series of songs, emotion shouldn’t be a stylistic choice. Unless you’re sedated, no one exists like that. Sometimes you feel happy or angry or inadequate, this album captures every nuance of what we were feeling last year,” explains Yuma Wray.
For the two songwriters settling, for the moment, in California seems to have had more than just a slight effect on their music. Many of the dreamy guitar and vocal textures harken back to the days of the Flying Burrito Brothers or the Byrds Sweetheart Of The Rodeo period. Lean Into The Wind is as twangy as it is fuzzy - striking a perfect balance between the jittery, noisy heyday of the late sixties and the more subdued, experimental sounds of the early seventies.
The album opens with a nod to those sounds, and introduces the rich three-part vocal harmonies that are woven into the fabric of the album.
“Drifter’s Compass” is a manifesto of sorts. “It’s a kind of defiant anthem for the underdogs and artists who create outside of the mainstream because they just simply must, “ says Miss Shevaughn.
"This is the hardest part of living, right past the point of giving in, don't need your prayers or your permission, just need a road without an end" - "Drifter's Compass"
The band has undergone rapid evolution since 2012’s We’re From Here – hundreds of shows and over 100,000 miles on the road will do that. “The last album catalogued our transition from an intimate duo to playing with other musicians as a band. Lean Into the Wind was written over months and road tested with all four band members contributing to the final recording,” says Yuma.
Fans describe Miss Shevaughn’s voice as “mesmerizing.” She’s drawn critical comparisons to Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell. On Lean Into the Wind she also explores a more forceful, gutsy side of her voice.
“One of my favorite moments on the road with these new songs was when an audience member, who was about my dad’s age, ran up after the show, embraced me and blurted out ‘Janis Joplin lives!’” recalls Miss Shevaughn.But the singer is just as likely to rip into a fuzzed out slide guitar solo or saturated rock organ hook.
And that’s the thing with this band, on stage and in the studio they’re a whirlwind of creative activity. Yuma Wray, aside from having developed an easily recognizable “less is more” guitar sound that’s been praised for creative soundscaping and chunky Jimmy Page inspired riffs, has come into his own vocally on this album. He has branched out, tackling duties on keys and flute as well as the vocal harmonies that wend their way through the record. Drummer Ben Tufts, from Washington D.C. also contributed vocal harmonies, mandolin and bass. Additionally, guest musician Ikey Owens (The Mars Volta, Jack White’s Buzzards) played piano on the raucous, bluesy “Bleed Me” and Philly-based artist Bile Greene wrote “Blue Dream."
This record, that celebrates those who travel the outskirts and explores the push and pull between creativity and destruction, hope and despair, ends much as it started, with a statement of defiance, spirit and perseverance. Lean Into the Wind invites the adventurous to time travel with the band through the past, present and several imagined futures. Whispers and roars fill these songs - yet each tune, in it's own way, has a thin veneer of that California sunlight that streams golden just before the sun sets over the mountains.
Meanwhile, Miss Shevaughn tells PopMatters about the inspiration for the single “Coyote”:
“We almost invariably end up in Joshua Tree to wind down after a long tour. ‘Coyote’ was inspired at about three in the morning when Yuma and I woke up in our tent and heard coyotes calling back and forth to each other across the park. I started thinking about coyote as a trickster and innovator, a character who survives outside of the mainstream, and about how they rely on each other. It kind of became a talisman for us in our travels. We even created a coyote design for our wedding invitations.”—Miss ShevaughnVia Bucket Full of Nails Download Coyote
Via MP3 AT 3PM Download Drifters Compass
Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray’s Lean Into the Wind is out March 25, 2014 on CD and digital formats via Seven Dead Arson Records.
01) Drifter's Compass
02) Election Year Blues
04) Bleed Me
05) Lone Star Souvenir
06) When The Pumps Run Dry
07) Oh, Tornado
08) Long Way Home
09) Sure As Hell
10) Destruction Story
11) Blue Dream
12) Brushed The Dust Off (Lean Into The Wind)
HONEYMOON TOUR DATES
3/06 - Alex’s Bar - Long Beach, CA
3/07 - The Press Restaurant - Claremont, CA
3/08 - TBA - Phoenix, AZ
3/09 - The Lost Leaf - Phoenix, AZ
3/11 - Cowgirl BBQ - Santa Fe, NM
3/12 - Adobe Bar - Taos, NM
3/14 - Bufalo Bob’s Chalupa Wagon - Austin, TX
3/15 - Cherrywood Coffee - Austin, TX
3/21 - The Nick - Birmingham, AL
3/23 - Hendershot’s - Athens, GA
3/24 - Eddie’s Attic open mic - Decatur, GA
3/25 - The Basement (new faces showcase) - Nashville, TN
3/27 - Emerald Lounge - Asheville, NC
3/28 - Slim’s Downtown - Raleigh, NC
3/29 - Common Market - Charlotte, NC
4/02 - IOTA - Arlington, VA
4/11 - Grand Victory - Brooklyn, NY
4/12 - The Bus Stop Music Cafe - Pitman, NJ
4/16 - Bossy Grrl’s Pinup Joint - Columbus, OH
4/17 - TBA - Dayton, OH
4/18 - Southgate House - Newport, KY
4/19 - TBA - Louisville, KY
4/20 - Melody Inn - Indianapolis, IN
4/22 - Acorn Theater - Three Oaks, MI
4/24 - Woodruff’s - Ypsilanti, MI
4/26 - Kingman Island Folk & Bluegrass Festival - Washington DC
4/30 - The Frequency - Madison, WI
5/03 - Ritual Cafe - Des Moines, IA
5/09 - The Pioneer Inn - Nederland, CO
5/14 - Cowgirl BBQ - Santa Fe, NM
5/19 - Pappy & Harriet’s - Pioneertown, CA
5/23 - Trillium Cafe - Hood River, OR