Digging In, Digging Out

Luray’s new album thrives despite life’s challenges

Parker Reed

SMILES AND TILES. Luray, aka Wisconsin native/Richmond, Virginia-based musician Shannon Carey released her second full-length album, Dig, on July 26.
SMILES AND TILES. Luray, aka Wisconsin native/Richmond, Virginia-based musician Shannon Carey released her second full-length album, Dig, on July 26.

A roots-laden songwriter is making her way back to where things all started for her. 

Luray is the musical moniker for Wisconsin native and current Richmond, Virginia-based musician Shannon Carey, who released her second full-length album, Dig, on July 26. She will be back in the Badger State for a show on Friday, Sep. 20, at The Oxbow Hotel, 516 Galloway St., Eau Claire.

A notable collaborator on her follow-up to 2013’s The Wilder is her brother, Sean (of Bon Iver and S. Carey fame), who lives in Eau Claire. Sean produced Luray’s first record as well, this time around being more involved in the pre-production process of the album and helping shape the record over eight days spent recording with Brian Joseph at Hive Studio in Eau Claire. 

“I just write about my thoughts, feelings, and whatever is going on with me at the time. So, when I broke up with my husband, a lot of these songs had to be written that way.” – Shannon Carey on the new Luray record, Dig

Carey said she hopes the new 11-song project – which is filled with haunting, beautiful, and melancholic folk – instigates reflection and resonance in the hearts of her audience. 

“I certainly hope people connect with it,” Carey said. “So even if I’m the one telling my story, the goal is for the listener to have a little bit of a catharsis and something to connect with.” 

The inspiration for the project came after Carey split with her husband, which ended up being the catalyst for a period of reflection and artistic growth and honesty. 

“It was just what was happening in my life at the time, so there really wasn’t a plan,” Carey said. “I just write about my thoughts, feelings, and whatever is going with me at the time. So, when I broke up with my husband, a lot of these songs had to be written in a way.”

With a seasoned band and serious lyrical topics to explore, Carey said the rehearsal and recording process was filled with much more preparation and detail than her previous effort in 2013. She felt the songs needed to be fairly well-formed before entering the studio to ensure the finished product would flow and accurately reflect the emotions she was trying to evoke through the banjo and soft, welcoming vocals she has fine-tuned over the years. 

One of the songs Carey said she is most proud of from Dig is the title track due to the place the topic and lyrics flowed from.

“The title track I feel resonates the most with me from this record,” Carey said. “It’s about the moment where I realized I couldn’t be in my relationship anymore, I wasn’t happy and I had been holding on for too long. The song is repetitive and a meditation on that idea.”

Now that Luray’s second album is hitting her audience’s ears, the next step for the humble artist is to communicate her music live and establish a connection with her audience face to face. 


Luray will be joined by Sarah Krueger for a gallery show at the Oxbow Hotel on Friday, Sep. 20, for an intimate one-night-only performance. Doors for the event open at 7:30pm and the show begins at 8pm. Tickets, which are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, can be purchased online at volumeonetickets.org.