Singer-Songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andy Shauf may not be a household name, but his is certainly a star on the rise. The Canadian was recognized by the Polaris Music Prize, for which he was a shortlisted finalist in 2016, an honor that has thrust him in front of a wider audience. Influenced by such masters of melancholia as Elliott Smith, Wilco and Neil Young, his devotion to the dark, detailed and poetic audible evocation of the Canadian prairie landscape is a vehicle all his own.
Andy Shauf's Background
A self-taught multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, piano, drums, clarinet and a number of other instruments, Andy Shauf hails from Saskatchewan. The rural region, subject to long, cold winters, has been Shauf's primary inspiration as a songwriter. Standout songs from his four-record catalog have been lauded by critics for evoking a weary warmth, an introspective lonesomeness brightened by hints of pop and a desolation balanced by richly conceived poetic narratives.
Shauf's full-length debut, Bearer of Bad News, was released in 2012 to a warm reception. He toured North America for two years in support of the album and later added European dates that took Shauf's sounds to an international audience. In 2015, Shauf released the single "Jenny Come Home," which charted on CBC Radio 2's Radio 2 Top 20 chart. A career highlight would come in early 2016 when Shauf opened for the Grammy-nominated band The Lumineers on their European tour.
His sophomore album saw Shauf sticking to his DIY ethos, recording and arranging every instrument himself. The result was the meticulous and detailed The Party, released in 2016. The album's 10 tracks represent a series of stories, each evoking a different character attending a party. The overall narrative has been described as dark and sophisticated, literate and intimate. Another major highlight in Shauf's career would soon follow in 2016 with the track "Wendell Walker" from The Bearer of Bad News making the shortlist for the SOCAN Songwriting Prize, which recognizes the best in emerging Canadian music, and The Party being a shortlisted finalist for the 2016 Polaris Music Prize, the most prestigious award given in Canada for a full-length album.