Vera Sola grew up between New York City and a farm in Canada, raised by artists, writers and seekers. As a child she was surrounded by music—training early on as a dancer, learning to play piano, and later teaching herself guitar and bass. Writing too was always a passion. Considering she holds a degree in Literature from Harvard, it’s fitting that Vera Sola’s songs are arranged to give words a well-earned place at their center.
The poet, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist is hard to pin down. Attempts to define her music have had her cast as the ‘lost love child of Leonard Cohen and Nancy Sinatra,’ ‘Nick Cave in the role of Staggolee,’ ‘a mordant Patsy Cline,’ ‘PJ Harvey at her most irate, teeth-bared.’
But its near impossible to find a truly fitting comparison. Described as ‘a living anachronism’, Vera Sola makes timeless, time-bending sound. In the words of the Sunday Times Culture, she’s ‘an utterly singular talent’.
All of this was a long time coming. Despite a background in poetry, a successful career as a stage and voice actor, years of touring in Elvis Perkins’ band, and a collection of hundreds of secret songs, it wasn’t until early 2017 that she began experimenting with the idea of recording her own material.
Only then, when a series of life-altering events reframed her relationship to her music, did she book time at a studio in St. Louis and lock herself inside.
From there came her debut album ‘Shades’—written, performed, and produced entirely alone. Instruments she’d never before touched, hand-made percussion, chains and breaking glass, were arranged meticulously around multi-part harmonies, and brought to the fore a newly discovered vocal skill— her otherworldly vibrato.
The result is a record both complex and sparse, lyrics full of sorrow yet arch and wry. Sincere but sardonic, self-aware and scathing. Poems and stories set to music. Songs of the present that conjure the past.
For 'Crooked Houses' Vera Sola says,
"The recording process here was an entirely new approach for me. I resisted the temptation to bury perceived imperfections in a soundscape, or veil myself in many layers of harmony. It’s all very bare.
It was also the first time I’d ever had another person play on my recorded songs (till this point I’d been the only one playing on my recordings). That’s vastly different than just doing it myself. It opens up whole new possibilities, as well as new challenges. It’s fitting, because in retrospect, the recording process and sparse arrangement ultimately reflects what the song’s about— the anxiety of new things, of vulnerability, as well as the balance of risk and reward when opening up to another."
released April 5, 2019
Vocals and Guitar: Vera Sola
Bass: Janie Cowan
Loving, Loving (Acoustic Reprise)
Vocals, Rhythm Guitar: Vera Sola
Bass: Janie Cowan
Lead Guitar: Kenneth Pattengale
Produced by Vera Sola
Engineered by Kenneth Pattengale
Mixed by Kenneth Pattengale and Vera Sola
Mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless Mastering
Recorded at Pyramid Scheme in Los Angeles, CA