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Lizz Wright Sees Her Shadow & Finds The Light

The singer-songwriter shares a tale of loss, grief and healing on her upcoming LP.

Lizz Wright embraces her newfound freedom on her upcoming album Shadow, a recording that encapsulates an illustrious 20-year career. The latest offering on her new label Blues & Greens Records, the April 12 release solidifies Wright as one of the great modern American singers as it celebrates intimacy, loss, community and healing.

On Shadow, Wright pens five originals: Root of Mercy, Circling, This Way, Sparrow (which features Angelique Kidjo) and Your Love with Meshell Ndegeocello. She also showcases singular renditions of songs by Cole Porter, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Sandy Denny, Candi Staton, Toshi Reagon and Caitlin Canty.

Wright invited her musical family to Chicago to record with renowned engineer Ryan Freeland, who recorded her last studio album Grace and engineered Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-winning Just Like That. Shadow was produced by longtime music director Chris Bruce (Seal, Bettye LaVette, Sheryl Crow). Other collaborators include Adam Levy, Lynne Earls, Justin Hicks, Morley Kamen, Jack DeBoe, Ben Zwerin, Kenny Banks Sr., Glenn Patscha, Deantoni Parks and Rashaan Carter. Featured contributions also include violinist Trina Basu and Carnatic violinist Arun Ramamurthy, harpist Brandee Younger, composer Hanna Benn, and Chicago string players.

Without A&R reps and the pressures that inherently come from record labels wanting artists to fit into a specific genre, Wright makes the album she’s always wanted to record. Anchored by acoustic guitar and bare emotion, Shadow presents Wright in a gentle and triumphant light.

“It finally came to be my turn to lose a defining love in my life, my grandmother Martha,” Wright explains. “Something about the way she loved me gave me the backbone to stand and sing in front of rooms of strangers all these years and never feel alone. She made the world seem small and warm. Watching her long transition made me think about the impression that her love has left on me and what I was going to do with it. Shadow is the result of patiently feeling and exploring grief while also celebrating the kind of love that becomes more apparent and powerful in the presence of loss and uncertainty.”

Wright culls inspiration from her Southern upbringing in Georgia, where she was the musical director of a small church in which her father was the pastor. The call-and-response singing with the church congregation was her first brush with music. Soon she would traverse the Great American Songbook on her path to becoming a beloved international treasure.

At the age of 22, Wright first made a name for herself nationally as a vocalist with a touring concert tribute to Billie Holiday. At 23, she signed with Verve Records for the release of Salt, which topped Billboard’s contemporary jazz charts. She went on to release Dreaming Wide Awake (2005), The Orchard (2008), Fellowship (2010), Freedom & Surrender (2016) — featuring Lean In, which landed on Barack Obama’s summer playlist — and Grace (2017). Wright’s 2022 release Holding Space, a live recording of a concert in Berlin, was her debut live album on Blues and Greens Records.

Watch the video for Sweet Feeling above, hear more from Lizz Wright and check out her tour dates below, and shadow her on her website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Lizz Wright Tour Dates

April 5-7 | Brennan’s Bar & The Carlyle Room, Washington
April 10 | City Winery, Philadelphia
April 11 | Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club, Portsmouth, NH
April 12 | City Winery, Boston
April 14 | City Winery, New York City
April 27 | Koerner Hall, Toronto
April 28 | Space, Evanston, IL