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Broke-Ass Band Interview: Shenandoah Davis (Sat @ SFCMC)

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I’m a musician and a music journalist. I make judgment calls in the first 30 seconds of listening to something because I don’t get paid enough to spend more time than that. Also, I hate 99% of all music I hear. I might sound like an asshole right now but it’s leading up to something good, I promise. In the first 30 seconds of listening to Seattle singer/songwriter Shenandoah Davis‘ music, I was impressed. Gorgeous strings, beautiful melodies, and masterful vocal acrobatics. Now, see? Doesn’t that mean more after all the negative crap leading up to it? Blammo. So easy to give a compliment if you start out slinging insults.

In all seriousness, though, she’s got the voice of a unicorn. I’d say angel but I’m not sure I believe in those. Unlike unicorns, which are obviously real. If you don’t believe me, you can take a listen over on Bandcamp. Or watch the music video embedded below and this one that wouldn’t embed.

Or better yet, go to her show this Saturday, November 26th, at SF’s Community Music Center (more info on Facebook). After 100 days on tour, she’s coming to SF to perform with Yesway, who I interviewed here earlier this year, and Jeremy Harris (you can listen to his band Ever Isles here). I caught up with Shenandoah to talk about, amongst other fun tidbits, the trials and tribulations of tour.

Introduce yourself!

I’m Shenandoah Davis. I’m a musician from Seattle and for the last three months I’ve been on tour with a cellist and drummer.

Describe your sound in five words or less.

Classically-influenced romantic pop music.

Tell us about your band name.

It’s just my name. And it is my real name. I get asked a lot.

Favorite thing about San Francisco?

SF Moma. I try to go every time we stop here on tour. And the pupusas in the Mission.

Favorite SF restaurant?


Favorite SF bar?

Probably Amnesia, although I have the disadvantage of only spending time at bars that double as music venues.

How do you prepare for a big show? What will you be doing the night before?

Since we’re on tour, we will be playing another show in San Diego, then braving Thanksgiving weekend traffic up to SF.

What can people expect at your shows?

Bring tissues.

What do you do during downtime on tour?

For a while, we went swimming every day. Then it got really cold. Now we play cribbage.

What’s next for the band? (i.e. plug your next show?)

After this tour, we are taking a month off for the holidays, and then touring for six weeks in New Zealand. It will be summer there!

Three things you’d take to a desert island?

A piano, and my other two band members. We are all best friends at this point.

What movie can you watch over and over and never get sick of?

Reality Bites.

Favorite season or time of year?

I love summer, again, mostly because of swimming. Swimming is my favorite.

Three things that are in your fridge right now?

I wish we had a fridge in our van! We do have some curry mustard that has spruced up many late-night meals.

Anything in your sock drawer besides socks?

I didn’t bring any socks on tour. I hate doing laundry.

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty, i.e. money:
Have any tips for aspiring musicians trying to make it on their craft?

Don’t get caught up in gear. If you learn how to play, the instrument will only work for you. Buying fancy stuff is just a waste of money, not to mention expensive to replace when it inevitably gets stolen.

Best money saving tip in general?

Carry a flask.

Where do you live now and what are some good cheap/fun things to do in that area?

We don’t live anywhere. We will be in Seattle for all of December, and I like going down to the waterfront and going cheap bowling on Sunday nights at Garage.

[youtube KVmJbv3oUy8]

What do you refuse to spend money on?

Tipping. Just kidding! Things I lost on tour (phone chargers, shoes, toothbrushes).

What is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought and how did that feel?

I bought a designer dress from a local artist in Seattle for my first cd release show. It was made of men’s suit jackets. I still love it.

What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten?

Last night I talked a sushi chef into making me dinner for a CD. I was extremely happy with that trade.

What is your favorite free thing to do?

Card games and naps.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

An island. I guess it would be a pretty small island.

What’s one GOOD thing about not having a ton of money?

Not having a ton of debt!

Any last words?

Come see us on Saturday!


*Photo 1 by Carrie Robinson, Photo 2 by Jenn Sweeney

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.