5/1 - Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC
5/12 The Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ
In September of 2012, Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray released their first full-length offering, entitled We’re From Here.Immediately afterwards, the Americana duo (turned psych/blues/rock/folk trio) embarked on a two month tour to support that release. Their latest digital-only album Live @ DC9 was recorded during the final show of that 45-date venture at DC9 in Washington, DC last November, where they shared the stage with Laura Tsaggaris and The Weathervanes.
Featuring DC native Ben Tufts on drums, this live album is the conclusion to a year spent in the studio and on the stage, with thousands of miles logged on the road. Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray didn’t sleep much, but their songs have never sounded more focused or energetic.
“Think back on the material Daniel Lanois produced for Emmylou Harris - this music is by turns ethereal, haunting, lonely, ferocious and bluesy, painting American landscapes in pure black and white. The harmonies are smooth and go places you wouldn’t normally expect. Frisby’s alto has a world-weary and strongly emotional feel. She is, to be sure, a great singer.” -CONNECT SAVANNAH
“A fifteen song collection of Americana music, We’re From Here seamlessly jumps from sparse folk tunes to fuzzy guitar filled garage rock. Miss Shevaughn’s haunting vocals weave through the sonic landscape provided by Yuma Wray, and when it is his time to sing the contrast is powerful. Their music is more than just songs, each tune is a story and as story tellers it is up to Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray to bring these tales to life.” - Chris Martin / ATLANTA EXAMINER
“ Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray’s We’re From Here is a classic American road trip story, with the duo expanding its sound from sparse folk balladry to psychedelic swamp stomp.” - SUN JOURNAL
“We’re From Here, the new album from Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray, is a folk-drenched look into questions of contentment, laments over new beginnings, and self-acceptance, with Miss Shevaughn sounding an awful lot like Joni Mitchell as she tells her passionate tales.” - CHARLESTON CITY PAPER
“Their blend of country, folk, rock, and blues is a thing of beauty.” – MUSIC. DEFINED.
“Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray have put together a record that is simply stunning in its scope and in the sheer size of its sound…. this is a tremendous debut.” - WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY
“Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray’s 2011 was spent on the road living out of their Honda Element, searching out their sound and cataloging their experiences and thoughts. Their time on the road was not wasted as the result is Americana personified – an amalgamation of elemental roots music into songs of real substance a soundtrack for a journey on the rural routes and black tops.” - BEAT SURRENDER
“Warm heart and fuzzed out soul come together on Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray’s new album We’re From Here.” - JESTER JAY MUSIC
“Nostalgic and reminiscent, We’re From Here is packed full of personality. Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray are both masters at merging musical genres and as a result, the album is original and full of songs that aren’t like anything else.” - SHOW ME SOMETHING DIFFERENT: UK
“Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray snake a highway around Americana, folk and good old rock & roll. It really is fabulous music making and bursting with talent, imagination and character. I could listen to it all day.” – UNDERCOVER
“Miss Shevaughn & Yuma have seen the U.S. and they sing about it with heartfelt soul and just the right amount of indie charisma. There’s nothing stuffy or snobby about their music. It clearly shines through as honest and poetic.” - John Powell / YOU HEAR THIS
“If I had a million dollars, I would pay Miss Shevaughn to sing me to sleep every night for a year. We’re From Here is one of the best albums that’s come my way this year.” - ADOBE & TEARDROPS
“Featuring an eclectic mix of instruments including – but not limited to – guitar, banjo, mandolin, percussion, glockenspiel and lap steel, this duo has a bigger sound than most listeners dare to imagine. Strength in voice and instrumental ability drives their songwriting excellence.” - THE VERMONT CYNIC
“Unique, honest and compelling storytelling.” - YOUNG MANHATTANITE
“The word “sprawling” certainly applies to We’re From Here, the new album by Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray. The duo spent the year on the road (29 states, 125 shows) and the new songs reflect their experiences and evolution.” - THE PROVIDENCE PHOENIX
“Ever since I have gotten my ears on this excellent work of Americana and folk, I haven’t been able to stop listening. A voice that captivates, Miss Shevaughn has to be one of the most passionate vocalists I’ve heard. Add in the mysterious Yuma Wray and his magical guitar skills, these two seem to be the perfect mix for creating music that has the power to make the burliest of men weep.” - THE RECORD STACHE
January 2013, the dawn of a new year full of promise and opportunity. Yuma Wray and I had recently come off a successful fall tour and were enjoying seeing our debut album “We’re From Here” pop up on best of the year lists and blogs. We had just packed up our meager belongings (mostly music equipment) and driven cross country to settle down in beautiful sunny San Luis Obispo, CA to write songs for our spring tour and upcoming album. I took a week off to fly to Chicago to do some work with the music education charity that I develop curricula for and write grants for. On my first night there I got a call that no one wants to receive.
“Your test results have come back and I’m sorry to tell you this but you have cancer.”
It turns out that January is cervical cancer awareness month. Consider me very aware!
Now Yuma and I lead fairly humble lifestyles in order to pursue our music. We tour a lot and live in our car or camp. We don’t keep an apartment. Fortunately, one of our indulgences is health insurance. Unfortunately, my deductible was so high I didn’t know what to do. Because of my minimal income I qualified for state healthcare through Planned Parenthood in California. I started to do research on the disease and treatments and learned that it was very treatable in early stages but that 4,000 women a year die from the disease when it isn’t caught soon enough. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had regular checkups in several years starting at a time when I didn’t have insurance, and had no idea what my prognosis was. After speaking to friends and informing my family, I stayed up reading for pretty much the whole night. For the next several days I distracted myself with my work but every sentence ended in my head with a whispered “You Have Cancer”.
I am incredibly fortunate to have had family members of mine and Yuma’s step in and offer to help pay for medical bills and even more fortunate that they have the resources to do so. By the morning I had decided to go to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, both because they are one of the highest ranking cancer treatment hospitals in the country and because my family (and my cat) live nearby in Maryland.
Receiving top-notch treatment, or any treatment at all is not the case for many low-income women and those without insurance including artists, musicians, single mothers and those women holding down two or three jobs just to make ends meet for their families. Of the 4,000 women who die of cervical cancer in the U.S. each year, most deaths are due to not receiving regular checkups, PAPs that can detect the disease very early on and because those women don’t have the means or resources to access high-quality care.
I finished my job in Chicago and tried to sleep on the plane to no avail. There was that voice “You Have Cancer”. I tried to fill up my time researching antioxidant diets, yoga and massage treatments. Yuma met me at the airport and it was such a relief to be back with him. I had thought it was going to be weird, but other than him treating me like I was fragile for about a day it was fine. The next several days broke in to the wonderful writing schedule that we’d been on, and were filled with packing and travel plans. We took the train to L.A. and a plane to D.C. My parents picked us up at the Metro. My appointment was the next day.
On the train Yuma said after this is all over we should just get married. I was thinking the same thing. We’ve been engaged for three years, but we always tell ourselves we don’t have time to have a wedding. We’re always planning a tour or recording an album. Sometimes life reminds you that you’ve only got a limited amount of time to do ALL of the things that you want.
Hopkins is a lovely facility and the women’s cancer unit has beautiful views of the Baltimore skyline especially on a clear sunny winter day like the day of my appointment. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait in the waiting room long and soon talked to the doctor. She recommended a cone biopsy and let me know that this would be used both diagnostically as well as being a treatment, meaning, if they got it all I would just be monitored, but if they don’t then we’ll have to talk about next steps.
So here I am waiting again. They scheduled my surgery for Feb. 18th. That’s three weeks to wait!
With what we know we’ve decided not to cancel our spring tour and are even going to get in some rehearsals with our drummer Ben on some of the new material while we’re here. (He lives in D.C.) But the dreary weather and the continuous waiting are dragging me away from my creative urge. I know when my surgery is, I’ve had friends tell me it’s not that bad and there’s a good chance it will work. But it’s hard to focus on writing, and I think that I will feel like I’m in this state until they say “We got it all.”
Sometimes the big impact events in your life, the ones that you think should inspire art leave you numb and incapable until they have passed.
I keep coming back to the point that I am very lucky. I have a support system in place emotionally and monetarily that many people don’t. Planned Parenthood offers free and subsidized medical care to women who would not otherwise have access. You can donate to them here: https://secure.ppaction.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=pp_ppol_Nondirected_OneTimeGift&s_src=ppol_onetimegift_old
Additionally, many working musicians don’t have health insurance. Some states have Health Alliances for Musicians where you can donate.
As for me, I have every confidence that my surgery will go well and that we’ll be out on the road again this spring with a ton of new tunes.
See you on the road!
I seem to be confining myself to the 140-character limitation of Twitter more than anywhere else these days, but this blog still serves a purpose when I need to go “long-form”…
After a year spent in preparation for releasing our first full length offering to the world, I’m looking back at 2012 and wondering “What the hell did we listen to that wasn’t us?” Hours spent agonizing over mixing, mastering, and reviewing our own sounds didn’t leave too much time for other bands in our lives. Nonetheless - I still feel the need to recap the year musically, because none of us makes sound in a vacuum.
YUMA WRAY’S TOP ALBUM PICKS OF 2012:
(okay - a lot of these didn’t come out this year, but what can I say, I think most modern pop records are crap…)
1) “We’re From Here” by Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray - yeah, the most listened to album on our stereo this year. In the six months between when we finished it and when we released it, our own album was pretty much all we listened to. It was bordering on obsessive at one point, but what can I say? We poured our lives into that record. We had to make sure it was not going to be in vain!
2) ”Yellow & Green” by Baroness - In a time when the dying music biz would have you believe that no one buys or listens to a full length album anymore, these guys had the balls to put out an eclectic-sounding, far-reaching double LP. And it is badass, drawing on their melodic/metal past - Baroness had the gumption to get quiet, pretty, and pretty damn experimental in a genre (some people still call them ‘metal’ since their album came out on Relapse Records) that is populated mostly by formulaic purists. A tragic bus accident after the album came out to rave reviews has them sidelined for the time being. But we are all hoping they mend and return to the battlefield soon. Their music is pretty damn inspiring.
3) “The Bloom & The Blight” by Two Gallants - After taking a year or two off to recover from a little road fatigue, and to get their musical priorities in order, Adam and Tyson got themselves a new record label and a sound that is bigger than anything they have ever done before. These guys often get pigeonholed as a “folk duo” - a label that Miss Shevaughn and myself are all too familiar with - but that really only describes maybe half of their sound. These guys are definitely one of the biggest ‘little’ rock bands around. Thank God for fuzz pedals - there is plenty of sludge on the guitars on this record. The drumming is frantic, but when it backs off, there are hooks that will get stuck in your head for days. And Adam’s lyrics are still more literate and intricate that most people are capable of. Good one boys - I knew you had it in you.
4) “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” by The Byrds - And now, we get to the old stuff. “Sweetheart” came out in 1968. My dad used to rock it when he was in college. So I felt a bit like a chump since I’ve only discovered it this past year. But I got over it. This is most commonly known as their ‘country’ album. It was a collaboration with Gram Parsons, and, instead of the 12-string guitar hooks and “Turn, Turn, Turn”-ness that most people associate with The Byrds, it is full of pedal steel swells and songs that trot along with that all-too-familiar western cadence. A brilliant record, and also, an inspiration.
5) “Roger The Engineer” by the Yardbirds - Yup, more old stuff. This is the least ‘known’ of the Yardbirds albums. Post-Clapton and pre-Page - Jeff Beck is the sole ‘lead’ guitar player on this album that is the only 100% original thing they ever did. For a a band that is usually lumped in with the other British blues-standard plunderers of the day, their originals are what stand out to me. Weird proto-psychedelic squirelly-ness, Les Paul & Chet Atkins-esque shuffles, the occasional “summer of love” hippie chant - this record is a big mess. And it hasn’t stopped being fun to listen to all year long.
6) “Live at Bonnaroo, 2006” by Radiohead - To be fair, I’ve only just gotten my hands on this one recently, but I’ve all ready plowed through it several times. The description of this album reads “This performance is considered by Radiohead fans to be one of, if not THE greatest live show the band has ever done.” It is twenty-nine near flawless renditions of what I consider to be their most enjoyable material. Tracks from 1995’s “The Bends”, are mixed in with 2007’s polarizing “In Rainbows” (which was still unreleased at the time of this performance). And then there is everything that came out in between those two records. Even though the horns are missing from Kid A’s “National Anthem”, the live rendition of it is just so damn ANGRY, I almost don’t care that there is no brass!
I’m sure there were other songs that I put on repeat - but the above list are the standouts that made the cut. I’m getting old, and it is becoming more tedious to remember everyone that I am supposed to thank…
See you next year!