The title of Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray's just-released first album is misleading. We're From Here weaves influences from all over the place, and the album's soulful take on traditional and non-traditional acoustic music is the result of a vagabond lifestyle, having spent a year on the road together, just the two of them and their instruments, in a little car.
They're from everywhere.
"We went to 29 different states, we played 125 shows, and we met a ton of different people," explains Erin Frisby, whose middle name happens to be Shevaughn. "We noticed that people really responded to our music in a way ... it was new music they'd never heard before, but there was something really familiar about it."
Yuma Wray is Chris Stelloh. Both musicians are proficient on several instruments, and the Wormhole bandstand at this week's show will be covered with guitars, mandolins, banjos and the like. An a piano. And a guest drummer (his name is Ben Tufts).
Think back on the material Daniel Lanois produced for Emmylou Harris - this music is by turns ethereal, haunting, lonely, ferocious and bluesy, painting American landscapes in pure black and white.
The harmonies are smooth and go places you wouldn't normally expect. Frisby, born into an Arkansan musical family, started singing the high stuff as a child. She grew up in New Orleans, studied opera and sang with rock ‘n' roll bands, and the resulting seasoned alto has a world-weary and strongly emotional feel. She is, to be sure, a great singer.
We're From Here, recorded in the couple's Chicago basement, would have been a markedly different record had Frisby and Stelloh not embarked on that lengthy Kerouac journey last year. The songs, she explains, changed a lot as they road-tested them in each new town. "It's a complex feeling, and I think that had a lot to do with the intensity of travel," Frisby says. "It's kind of lonely, but it's exciting at the same time."
The music, she adds, "also has sort of a long-distance element of mine and Chris' musical journey, throughout our entire life, tied into it. A lot of the music we grew up with, a lot of the influences that we pull from, are types of American music that are inextricably linked to our identity."
Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray perform at the Wormhole Wednesday, Sept. 19.
News and stuff
@ The "Third Thursdays on Tybee" series picks up with a performance by the wonderful Jan Spillane, at 5 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Tybrisa/Strand roundabout.
@ Friday, Sept. 28 at the Sentient Bean, say hello once again to Asheville's River Whyless. This acoustic band includes classically trained violinist Halli Anderson and comes armed with a grab-bag of introspective, pseudo-ambient original tunes and should work out splendidly for fans of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and other like-minded artists. The band used to be called Do it to Julia.
@ General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers, which I'm sad to report is soon to be no more, will play at "The Ancient Predators Ball," Oct. 4 at the Jinx, with Dinosaur Feathers and Shark. "Costumes and masks encouraged."
@ In conjunction with the (sold out) Unchained Tour, Creative Coast will be open to the public from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 with booths from various book stores, Graveface Records, Soda Shop, Foxy Loxy and others. Musicians include Anna AND Chrystina (from General O & the P's), Kellen Gray and others.
@ As promised, more news about the Oct. 6 No Control Fall Festival: Confirmed bands include Triathalon, Whaleboat, Roland, Odist, Cement Stars, Cloudeater, Heyrocco and Deep Search. Start time is 5 p.m., but a venue has not yet been announced. Keep it here.