Shannon Lay tonight – continuing our survey of all things L.A. this week. Shannon Lay leads a double life – as lead guitarist for The Feels, a rather high-voltage All-Female Punk Band (also from L.A.) and this persona; as Indie/nu-Folk/acoustic/alternative singer-songwriter – Shannon Lay is equally comfortable in both roles. But tonight we’re focusing on the mellow side of this extraordinary singer.
Lay has been gathering a solid following and spreading her influence throughout Europe, having played, among others, Route du Rock in Paris and being one of the highlights of that festival.
To get a little background on this upwardly mobile artist, I ran across a very good article in i-D Vice from September 2017, where we get filled in on the particulars:
Lay grew up in Redondo Beach, California. She mostly skated, or hung out by the pier. At 13, she started playing guitar. “It was a nice way for me to expend myself and have a good time.” She’d bring in songs (“some Neil Young, ‘Blackbird,’ the classics”) and her instructor at a local music shop would teach her how to play them. “For the longest time,” Lay says, “I just kind of listened to what everyone else was into.” Then she heard The Velvet Underground. “That was the door that I walked through like, ‘Oh my god, everything’s gonna be okay.’ I started listening to X, Animal Collective, Bob Dylan. Björk changed my fucking world! You find that one thing, and it becomes a gateway.”
A decade ago, Lay left Redondo Beach at 17. Although she considered decamping to San Francisco or Chicago, she landed in nearby L.A. “I moved in with this girl I didn’t know, and we were sharing a studio apartment. I was working at a weed store; it was a whirlwind,” Lay laughs. She wanted to join a band, so she went on Craigslist and found one. “They were called Facts on File. It was these two older people, Joe and Molly. They were so awesome; they really built my confidence in a way I didn’t have before.”
That was part of a larger article/review of her latest album Living Water, which came out last September.
So that’s a little background to fill you in if you don’t already know. From this point on, I would suggest you hit the play button and get acquainted. There’s a lot to discover.