Shenandoah Davis is not messing around. She and her two-man backing band started touring August 14, toured through September, will keep going through October, then will close out the run with 20+ shows in November. By the end, she will have played a self-booked show almost every day for four. solid. months.
The new music industry takes work ethic, but that’s far beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I would write about that insane tour schedule even if I didn’t like her music. That is worthy.
The Company We Keep, however, is also worthy. Her album features distinctive, precise piano-based songwriting. Davis has a high, affected, trilling voice that calls up Joanna Newsom comparisons, and it’s the centerpiece of the album. The songwriting is accompanied by stark arrangements that play up the wintry tones that she invokes. Tunes like “Sewn Up Tight” and “Oh Way Oh” use strings to condense the sound, making it even more claustrophobic than her songwriting would otherwise make it.
She strikes an odd and mesmerizing balance in The Company We Keep; she and Newsom have the weird songwriter vibe in common, but there’s also a distinct element of Bon Iver-esque beauty encompassed in the tunes (“White Wind”). Regina Spektor’s more brusque and brittle moments are called up as well (“Duet,” “Proof”). “Proof” is an especially interesting case, as it funnels all of her borrowed idiosyncrasies through a jaunty saloon-style piano. It’s easily the most distinctive and unique tune here. You’ll be humming it at the end, most likely.
The Company We Keep is a beautiful, unique collection of tunes. And since songs only get more broken in when you play them repeatedly, Davis is probably sporting even better renditions of these on the road (today: Providence, RI). Even so, picking up a Bandcamp copy of The Company We Keep is recommended.
You need to go to Shenandoah Davis’ show when she comes through your town. Because she probably is coming through your town. Heck, she might even come to my small town. I am not kidding. This is how dedicated she is.