Joan Shelley isn’t made for cities. She grew up on a horse farm outside of Louisville, Kentucky, not far from where her friend Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) lives. She embraced the bluegrass and Appalachian folk traditions that surrounded her. Though her career has grown, she has never opted to make a move to Nashville, a popular destination among her contemporaries looking to make it in the music business. She stayed home and made music on her own terms. Evocative of nature, her songs hit you like a ray of sunshine through the trees on an early morning hike with her beautiful voice a gentle caress over the elegant guitar interplay between Shelley and long-time collaborator Nathan Salsburg.
Shelley started out in a trio called Maiden Radio, playing traditional folk songs, but her solo music has evolved and transcended that label over four studio albums. Jeff Tweedy—who plays on it along with his son Spencer on drums—produced her 2017 full-length self-titled album. There are subtle jazz and torch singing touches added to the country and folk roots. Expect an intimate and magnetic performance from Shelley and Salsburg.
Biography by Sean Myers