Published Jan 01, 2006Shannon Wright unleashed is a force of nature, as any witness to her live show will affirm. Seemingly unaware of anything else, she plays guitar with total, furious abandon, shattering every delicate little singer-songwriter stereotype along the way. "It's strange," she explains over a disintegrating phone line from Paris. "Onstage, I don't really know what I'm doing, and I think it's best that I don't. I just really get lost in it."
She is self-taught in guitar and piano, which frequently pushes her into unexpected musical terrain. Her 2001 album, the magnificent Dyed In The Wool, marked a definite increase in volume and vocal range, but her fourth album Over the Sun, is the first to convey her live intensity. And while it is the most aggressive of her recordings, it is tempered by moments of absolute prettiness, almost filmic in nature. "When I write it's a very visual thing. I have several friends who make films, and I've collaborated with [Robbie Land], who did the artwork on my record. He also does a lot of experimental films, which are similar to the slides I take."
Wright is attentive to detail, from the illuminated Wurlitzer "Key Visualizer" and slide shows that accompany her onstage, to the atypical drum sounds on her albums. "I really dislike the obvious. I like for the instruments to go against each other, but in a way that there's enough space, and the music's breathing in an emotional way. Every little part is important."
It might seem disjunctive that her current project finds her working with composer Yann Theirsen, best known for the soundtrack to Amélie. He is a long-time fan, and first approached her record label in France about a possible collaboration. While still based in Atlanta, Georgia, Wright appreciates the musical environment there, which is more conducive to work that blurs categories. "I'd like to expand musically. I don't like the idea of just being known as this indie rock person. That's not something that I'm striving to do."