I recently had the pleasure of chatting with indie-folk songstress Lauren Shera, whose stunning album Gold & Rust was released in 2014, and who will be appearing with Bobby Long at 3rd & Lindsley on August 16th for Lightning 100’s Nashville Sunday Night series.
Shera, who has been a musician for the majority of her life, recounted of her upbringing: “There was a lot of music played in our house growing up; most of my siblings are musical and both of my parents play; they also played a lot of recorded music for us. I grew up listening to a lot of James Taylor; one my earliest memories is listening to James Taylor with my mom and Bob Dylan with my dad. That was kind of bred into us. I started playing guitar when I was 13, and I had been writing poetry for a long time. It was a natural progression, being a musician.”
What kinds of experiences inspire a 13 year old to write poetry? “I just wrote depressing girl poetry, it was terrible. What else do you have to write about when you’re 13? I actually won an award for this poem I wrote called “Ode to Kurt” about Kurt Cobain. I was obsessed with him. Just ridiculous stuff like that,” recalled Shera.
The process of making “Gold & Rust” was very emotional for her, and has called the album “a musical farewell” to her home state of California. “I recorded it in California in the weeks leading up to my move from there to Nashville. We actually wrapped our recording hours before I started driving from California. We wrapped at 2:00 in the morning and we were on the road by 6:00 to head to Nashville. It was a really emotional time, I was recording with really close friends who were playing and singing on the record, and it was like I was leaving all of these memories that I had been writing songs about, and the songs were very much inspired by my surroundings, I grew up there, along the coast; a lot of sweet memories and a lot of nostalgia, and a little bit of heartbreak about leaving California,” she explained. The very first track on the album, “Light & Dust,” from which the album’s title is derived, is her favorite; “I think that song, even though it’s pretty simple lyrically, kind encapsulates everything I wanted the record to stand for, basically looking at the light and the dark side of everything and making the most out of it, trying to grow from it and be a better person. It also touches on some of my family members and people that are important to me, and about appreciating the people around you. From a production standpoint, it’s my favorite song because it introduces the sound of the record, which is why we put it as the first track; it starts out pretty simple, but grows into a really cool, big arrangement by the end, a neat segue into the rest of the album,” she said, adding that her goal is “to write folk songs that connect with people, to lyrically connect with people through experiences that everybody shares in life.” I think she’s definitely on the right track.
If you aren’t able to make it to the show at 3rd & Lindsley, Shera will be performing at a special City Winery show on August 31st to benefit Musicans Corner; the show, a Tom Petty tribute called “Into The Great Wide Open,” is stacked with fantastic Nashville artists who will cover elections from the catalogue of the legendary Tom Petty. She’ll also be appearing at The Basement on October 1st. If you aren’t in the Music City, be sure to catch Lauren Shera live when she comes to your town!
An Evening of Tom Petty Music at City Winery
September 9 Neumo’s Seattle, WA*
September 10 Wonder Ballroom Portland, OR*
September 11 Rogue Theater Grants Pass, OR*
September 20 Brighton Music Hall Boston, MA*
September 22 The Hamilton Washington, DC*
September 26 Levon Helm’s Studio Woodstock, NY*
September 27 Port City Music Hall Portland, ME*