Shannon Wright Let in the Light

Shannon Wright Let in the Light
Let in the Light opens cinematically — a few elegant, melancholy piano notes nearly blur the line between Wright’s music and that of Yann Tiersen, with whom she collaborated on her last release. Wright could use her own Amélie — in the absence of big-budget fanfare she’s had to rely on the quality of her music to guarantee a steady audience, and she more than deserves the exposure. Often pegged as "moody,” Let the Light In proves that Wright is not actually a "tornado of uncomfortableness” (as she defines her own misconstrued public image); she can sit down at the piano and compose something meaningful just as well as she can belt it out in concert. Sometimes it seems as though solo artists are either emotional wrecks or cold professionals: they either make music as part of an outpatient therapy regimen or they’re hollow virtuosos. Wright is neither; she flips from low-key guitar-and-voice tracks to catchy, classic indie rock pop songs to sophisticated piano compositions (and, again, think Tiersen rather than Amos). She’s always been known for conveying difficult feelings in a genuine fashion but there’s a level of artistic distance here — enough to show that she is an artist rather than a talented sad sack.

Do you see making music as something that entails a certain social responsibility?
When I was 15, I was seeing bands like the Minutemen, Pylon, X and Sonic Youth playing for less than 150 people. Those bands just wrote about what they knew. [They] were like old friends coming for a visit. When you have websites like Pitchfork deciding what bands we should listen to, making money off ads for their site and bands being rated on a scorecard by one fucking person, then people don’t go to their shows and find out for themselves. Then we have the glossy magazines like Magnet putting Modest Mouse or Cat Power on yet another one of their covers. These people have sold all the records they need to sell. But, these covers help sell magazines because their labels have the budget to shovel them right the fuck into our faces.

Do you feel that reviewers put your gender before your work, that you’re always a "female musician?"
It’s shameful. Composers of the ink or computer keyboards just love to make that category. I have done a lot of interviews for this record and some writers have told me that they are doing a feature on female artists this month and that I will be included in this feature. I have told people to just forget about reviewing my record because it belittles what I do; they might as well tell me that they don't take me seriously. (Quarterstick)