Lauren Shera: Featured Musician

Lauren Shera

Lauren Shera

There’s a wistful feeling permeating the country-tinged folk music on Lauren Shera’s third album, Gold and Rust. With its yearning vocals, weepy pedal steel guitar and plaintive string arrangements, the album perfectly captures the feelings that Shera, a former Santa Cruz resident, was experiencing while she and her husband were preparing to move to Nashville in 2012.

As the singer/songwriter explains, she finished recording Gold and Rust mere hours before making the big move. “We were packed and ready to go,” she recalls. “We worked all night in the studio, got [the album] finished and left a few hours later in a daze.”

Lauren Shera “Light & Dust”

Gold and Rust is dominated by songs about leaving California or about people from the area who were important to Shera. “It was obviously a lot of nostalgia and a little bit of heavy-heartedness, but also this point in my life where I was so ready for a big change and ready for a move,” says the musician, who chose to relocate to Nashville partly because it made for a relatively easy drive or plane ride to several major cities while touring.

One of the songs that the impending move brought out of Shera was “The Crashing Sea,” a piece inspired by the coast of Monterey and Santa Cruz: “In my mind I have lived here before. I know the creaks of the old wooden floor. I know the sound that the howling wind makes coming through the windows, daring them to break.”

Lauren Shera “The Crashing Sea”

According to Lauren Shera, “The Crashing Sea” stemmed from “this weird idea I had out of nowhere: feeling like you had déjà vu, and what would it feel like if you couldn’t know the difference between having déjà vu and actually losing mind? It’s not a story about me personally; it’s just this weird thought that I had.” She fused that thought with the idea of revisiting one’s childhood home: “how strange and alien that can feel sometimes when you’ve moved on and made a home somewhere else, and then you go back to this place that’s strange and familiar all at once.”

Lauren Shera

Lauren Shera

Lauren Shera, who made all three of her existing albums in Santa Cruz, is currently preparing material for a new album to be recorded in Nashville. She plans to take a back-to-basics approach to the next record.

“A lot of the songs on Gold and Rust were written with full-band arrangements in mind,” Shera offers. “With the stuff that I’m writing now, I’ve kind of just stripped it back to just a guitar and voice. I want to really carefully build it up from there and be strategic about what instruments I would add. I want to make sure everything has a place for a reason.”

However the next album might differ in style from the last, Shera’s California roots will still be evident in her new music. “I want to stay true to all of my inspiration that I feel like I brought with me from the West Coast,” she notes. “I’m trying to honor that when I write.”

Lauren Shera “Stephany and Agbar”

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