Saturday, July 15th • 7 pm
There’s an earthiness to Shana Cleveland’s latest solo record, Manzanita. Named after the small, evergreen California tree known for its medicinal properties, the sounds of Manzanita resemble the tree’s spindly branches and smooth bark. The record is layered with plucky acoustic guitar runs, weary screeches of the pedal steel guitar, Cleveland’s soaring but disaffected voice, and—surprise!—the delicacy of a harpsichord. The inspiration for Manzanita came to the formerly Seattle-based musician while she was pregnant with her son, addressing most of the songs to the little one growing in her stomach.
“The songs on Side A were written while I was pregnant and mostly alone in our house on the outskirts of a small town,” the now California-based Cleveland told Brooklyn Vegan. “It was a strange, often psychedelic time, and my constant companions were natural elements, the creatures outside, and an invisible growing human that was taking over my mind and body.”
That tender, inward reflection comes out on tracks like “Faces in the Firelight” as Cleveland croons, “You are just a little light/Exploding on all sides/Do you love me like I do you?” over the melodic strums of the upright bass and gritty-sound synth. The dusty soil and plump blackness of the California night come through on the guitar-forward instrumental “Sheriff of the Salton Sea,” named for the landlocked and extremely salty body of water that lays on the San Andreas Fault. Cleveland brings her highly filigreed take on psych rock to Madame Lou’s on July 15th. Multi-instrumentalist (and Cleveland’s life partner) Will Sprott will open.