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Shana Cleveland

Shana Cleveland is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist known both for her indie surf band La Luz and the gentler folk-oriented material she records under her given name. While vintage surf and instrumental rock styles inform Cleveland's music with La Luz, her work outside the group is decidedly different. Her acoustic guitar style recalls artists such as John Fahey and Robbie Basho, who fused "American Primitive" traditionalism with an adventurous melodic sense, and on her 2015 album, Oh Man, Cover the Ground (credited to Shana Cleveland & the Sandcastles) and 2023's Manzanita, the cool but emphatic approach of her picking was matched by low-key, dynamic instrumental accompaniment. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cleveland relocated to Seattle and formed the Curious Mystery in 2005. That band would tour and release multiple albums with K Records over the next several years, and in that time period, Cleveland began developing an intricate, John Fahey-inspired fingerpicked guitar style she would employ in her solo work. The Curious Mystery faded into inactivity right around the time Cleveland formed a new band, La Luz, in 2012, but she had also been fronting another group called the Sandcastles as an outlet for her more folksy songwriting. Prior to La Luz's formation, Cleveland recorded Oh Man, Cover the Ground, her laid-back indie folk debut with the Sandcastles in 2011, which circulated as a limited-run cassette until Seattle-based indie Suicide Squeeze Records reissued the album in 2015. La Luz kept Cleveland busy, but she continued to work on her solo projects, and issued Night of the Worm Moon through the Sub Pop-distributed Hardly Art label in 2019. In 2023 she released her third solo album, Manzanita. It again took a softer approach than her garage-surf work in La Luz, with the songs tending toward subtle, orchestral pop arrangements. Cleveland is also a visual artist and in addition to having her art featured in publications like the Columbia Poetry Review, Vice, and Maggot Brain, she painted a set of 37 trading cards for folk label Tompkins Square called "Obscure Giants of Acoustic Guitar."
© Timothy Monger & Mark Deming /TiVo
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