By Jeremy Shulkin
There are plenty of reasons why you should
recognize Shana Morrison. She has released three solo albums since 1999, made numerous appearances at major music festivals, and oh, you may have caught her on tour with her father, Van Morrison.
She doesn’t make it easy for the casual listener: each of her albums has explored different genres, touching classic rock, blues, pop and jazz. Currently, she’s working on a fourth album, which she describes as “a little more Americana.”
Morrison traces back her musical exploration to her youth. “My grandparents had a record shop when I was growing up,” she says. “I’d work there on the weekends and I’d get paid with albums, so I ended up having quite a big record collection. I think the diversity of the music I write kind of comes from what I was exposed to at a young age.”
Even seeing her live, which Worcester will be able to do on Thursday, May 28, at the Dive Bar, offers no guarantee that she’ll sound like she did before. It seems that Morrison has a different band in each part of the country. Out here on the East Coast she has become very familiar with local musicians Roger Lavallee, Ron Mominee and Duncan Arsenault of the Curtain Society, and Huck’s Scott Riccuiti.
“We had done a few shows backing up Jim Carroll when he came to this area,” said Lavallee on how the group formed, “and I believe he and Shana share an agent. When she was looking for a band to back her up on the East Coast, he thought to call us.
“I’m not sure what would have made it seem that a band capable of backing up more of a art/punk rock icon would be the right band for a more soulful artist like Shana, but it actually is a great fit.”
Morrison agrees. “I kind of just met them through two degrees of separation and went out there and rehearsed a little bit with them and played some shows with them and we just had so much fun. It was like a mutual love fest. We had such a good time that now whenever I go out there we play.”
The variations that come with using multiple bands keep Morrison energized. “It’s nice for me to have a little bit of a different take on the songs because it kind of breathes a little bit of new life into it for me. It’s more exciting than just ‘let’s all play it exactly like the record.’”
Despite Morrison’s experience at major festivals and large music halls, both she and Lavallee know the Dive Bar’s atmosphere will only add to the show. “Because [the Dive Bar]’s so small, you feel that there’s no barrier between the musicians and the audience,” says Lavallee. “Shana’s style is going to fit right in there. The energy level will tear the roof off the place.”
“Every place has got a different vibe,” Morrison said. “Sometimes it’s great to play at a big place, but you know, it also can be really cool to play at a smaller place. From what Duncan says, the Dive is a great, great, atmosphere, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Shana Morrison will perform at the Dive Bar at 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 28. There’s no cover, and a lot of the best beer in the world. You can also catch her May 29 at the Hi Hat in Providence, and Saturday, May 30, at Point Breeze in Webster. Learn more at shanamorrison.com.