Music Makers: Joan Shelley

After solely writing about sneakers for a few months, I’ve decided to expand 22Dreambox to include more lifestyle posts that go beyond sneaker style. I’m starting by adding a Music section. Writing about music seems logical to me because it’s a big part of my lifestyle. I love listening to music in my car, on Spotify at my shop, or pulling out some vinyl in my living room.  I love playing music in my all-female bluegrass band. And anyone who knows me well knows that going to see live music is one of my favorite things to do.

On Saturday night I checked out an early show at The Southern, a small venue located off the downtown pedestrian mall here in Charlottesville. Guitarist James Elkington was opening for Joan Shelley, a Kentucky singer-songwriter who released her fifth album earlier this year.

Joan Shelley

Joan Shelley performing at The Southern on October 7th

Prior to Saturday, I’d listened to some of Shelley’s music and watched her NPR Tiny Desk concert (check it out here), but had never seen her perform live. I now want to spread the word to anyone who doesn’t know her music to check it out, and go see her if possible.

Her music is minimal yet complex and her voice is authentic. Her sound has strength and emotion which she delivers effortlessly. I found myself wondering how a sound so pure and clear was coming from a person standing a few feet in front of me, without any altering or editing. It was so beautiful, it almost didn’t seem real.

Her songs, performed above simple guitar melodies, are sometimes sweet, sometimes eerie, sometimes consoling. Her music has a calming, peaceful effect. It’s what I want to listen to while working on a creative project or cooking dinner after work. It’s what I want to recommend to everyone I know who loves genuine, personal, inspiring folk music.

Check out her website here and go see her if you can!