LITTLE SHRINE | "WILDERNESS" MINI-LP | S/R | OCT. 20th, 2017
What band’s name describes its sound?
Little Shrine does, too.
Indeed, Little Shrine, the songwriting project of San Francisco’s Jade Shipman, (Metallica’s hometown, too!) sounds like a little shrine. Universal feelings rendered in revered and protected miniatures.
The eight songs on the band’s upcoming mini-LP “Wilderness” (Oct. 20th) feature the warm, yet spacious vocals of Shipman, also on bass, accompanied by the thoughtful playing of guitarist Tony Schoenberg, who Shipman has been performing with in one pop-rock band or another for ten years, and violinist Ryan Avery, whose efficient playing here is in stark contrast to the other music he makes that puts the instrument into an electronic context.
Considering the musical backgrounds that Shipman and her bandmates brought to “Wilderness,” this collection of songwriterly tunes could have had even more in common with Metallica.
“I didn’t set out to write folk songs,” Shipman says. “I was going through some difficult life stuff and my experiences kept turning into folk songs.”
Writing music has been the way that Shipman has made sense of the world for years, but something was different this time.
“The feelings were too raw to hide them in rock music,” she says of the revealing and relatable lyrics on “Wilderness.”
For a time, Shipman felt these revelations might be only for herself, too personal to actually share with the world.
“I was talking with a friend of mine,” she remembers. “He helped me realize that we never know how we will have a positive impact on someone. Making ‘Wilderness’ has been a long process of peeling away doubts and fears, but it’s part of having faith that people can gain something from hearing these songs.”
One of those people is Shipman herself.
“I remember writing one song’s lyrics and feeling like I was completely lying to myself. So I went back and got much more real.”
“Stone,” the first single from “Wilderness” is one such really real song.
“It’s kind of confusing, but ‘Stone’ is about how pain is also a part of what gives life meaning and beauty,” she explains.
The centerpiece of “Wilderness” is “Not Today,” a song which Shipman wrote about a familiar topic – the relentless pursuit of the unattainable – but in a clever twist, she couples the idea with the concept of potentially giving ourselves a break while it’s happening.
This notion is another example of how the lowercase little shrine informs the proper noun Little Shrine. That a world that will just keep turning doesn’t need to dictate how we perceive it or deal with it. That our reactions are always under our own control and having faith in our ability to connect with others is what matters.
A story Shipman tells about the closing track on “Wilderness” describes the ultra-meta version of that idea of personal connection.
“I was at home, and I was feeling kind of down and discouraged, and my own song ‘The Thread’ came on shuffle,” she remembers. “The song is about how losing heart can diminish our sense of purpose, and in that moment, my own song didn’t feel like mine anymore, it felt like some old friend calling, reminding me not to lose heart. And it helped!”
“Wilderness” by Little Shrine is scheduled for release on October 20th, 2017, preceded by the single “Stone,” streaming now.
- 10/18/2017: San Francisco, CA @ The Lost Church (w/ Trevor Childs)
- 10/26/2017: Bay area-based rock bassist, drummer, Jade Shipman writes unexpected collection of classic-sounding folk songs with new trio Little Shrine.
- 10/12/2017: Little Shrine to release “Wilderness” debut Oct. 20th, an unexpected folk record from Bay area-based rock n’ roll bassist, drummer, Jade Shipman.
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