Savannah native Rachel Shaner — aka Lulu the Giant — releases her debut CD Kingdoms Fall Thursday, February 2nd at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Shaner, a 2009 Savannah Arts Academy graduate, is known for her upright bass prowess, and has shared stages with a range of talent-heavy locals including Nightingale News and Waits & Co. She’s also an in-demand songstress/guitar-slinger, a staple solo act in a number of venues on River Street. With the release of her debut CD, soon Shaner will also be known as an innovative writer and producer.
“It’s like I’ve always been known as the bassist in the back,” muses Shaner, “but I was always writing my own words and working my ideas.”
An English major and music minor in college, she easily felt how poetry, voice and music flowed naturally together. Over time she found, “I had these songs, and I knew I wanted to record. I wanted to produce them the way I heard them,” she pauses, “with the bass as focal point.”
For two years Shaner hustled. She took any paying gig that came her way. “I didn’t want to do a Kickstarter and all the time consuming details that go with that,” says Shaner, “I didn’t want to owe anyone and I knew I had to pay for it, so I busted my ass.” She’s done it all herself, from website design, CD artwork and layout, and project branding — Shaner did it all and continues to.
“It speaks to the climate of the music business these days,” continues Shaner, “you pretty much have to do it all yourself, you have to be your own greatest strength.”
Shaner presented drafts of her songs, barebones recordings of just her voice and bass to Suny Lyons of Popheart Productions, a studio outside of Athens. The creative connection between Shaner and Lyons was instant and they worked together to bring out the vivid sound and song-scape living in Shaner’s head.
“I didn’t have a band to record with, but I believed in these songs,” emphasizes Shaner. “I knew once they were recorded the way I wanted them, the right people would find me.” Lyons and Shaner then added Daniel Malone on drums, interestingly after most of the project had been tracked, and Slade Adams on strings. Shaner, of course, sang, played guitar and bass. Lyons added guitar, bells, and keys.
It was a field of dreams approach — if you build it they will come — that worked for the recording as well as for the debut performance. On Thursday, Malone again joins on drums. Alex Bazemore plays guitar and Igor Fiksman joins on pedal steel with lead guitarist Anders Thomsen rounding out the roster. These, some of Savannah’s most talented, heaviest-hitting players.
“When you have a sense of voice and inner expression that you know you must share, you just have to follow that through and see where it takes you.”
Indeed, Rachel Shaner—Lulu the Giant—her own greatest strength.
What: Lulu The Giant debut album release party
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 2
Where: Trinity United Methodist Church, 225 W. President St.
Know More: luluthegiant.com