It is commonplace nowadays to defy the limiting confines of genre, and Penny Shades provide a masterclass in this method, executing their delivery with confidence and a clear vision.
Drawing their sound from a diverse yet complimentary range of influences; jazz, disco, trip-hop, psychedelia, western, while keeping themselves rooted in the fertile ground of soul they have set themselves a dynamic stage from which they feel both familiar and original.
A five-piece group formed in the mountainous region near Nelson, Penny Shades are a collective of homegrown excellence. Each member leads their own individual musical projects, as well as collaborations with local artists.
Comprised of lead vocalist Sarah Orton, guitarist Jesse Lee, bassist Quillan Hanley, piano/keys Daniel Slade and drummer Ness Benamran, the powerful relationship between these musicians is clear. Tightly crafted instrumentals gently guide Orton’s unguarded vocals, giving her space to exercise her significant emotive power.
They independently released their debut five-track EP on March 26 across all major streaming platforms after giving audiences a sneak peek by releasing the album track by track through bandcamp during the month of March.
Penny Shades couldn’t get together for months because of the first COVID-19 restrictions, so they ended up completing the record in three months throughout the fall when social gatherings were (gingerly) allowed.
“We recorded the last bedtrack the day before social gatherings were restricted by the BC Health Authority,” says Benamran. “If only I had known that day would be the last time we would be physically together playing music, I probably would have hugged my bandmates a lot tighter when the recording session was done.”
During the release, the band launched a campaign called Save Our Seats, a sponsorship drive that donated a portion of digital album sales from bandcamp to become sponsors of The Langham Cultural Centre. They were successful in raising sufficient funds to include Penny Shades and Friends on the Langham’s list of corporate sponsors.