Release date: June 28, 2019
The eponymous album by Coral Moon is a collection of wind-swept, otherwordly songs that transport the listener to a twilit realm, a liminal state somewhere between loss and rapture. On the foundation of Bronson Tew’s percussion and pillared by Michael Sherer’s rhythm guitar and bass, Jannell Canerday’s violin and mandolin is interwoven with synth, guitar, and a spectral choir of vocal harmonies to construct shrines of sound. These are layered, complex songs pieced together with all the careful intent of ritual, a Eucharist of euphony. They sound like the product of a band that has been together for years, but that’s not the case. This album was created by three people in three geographic locations, and it can be said without exaggeration that it would not exist if not for social media.
In 2016, Michael shared a demo of a Vaselines cover (Rosary Job) on Facebook, along with a note about creative inertia. For Michael, this song was the first step in getting back into writing music and learning how to record. Also seeking to expand her production know-how, Jannell responded to Michael's post with a message proposing a long-distance collaboration, and a week later Michael sent her the rhythm guitar and vocals for 4,494. Little did either of them know that this simple exchange was the beginning of a musical collaboration that would eventually produce a full length album, all without ever being in the same room together. (Side note: although from the same small town of Jasper, Alabama, Michael and Jannell have met just once, on a summer afternoon in New York City.)
Thus, Coral Moon was made by three people in three places: Michael in Austin, Texas, Jannell in Louisville, Kentucky, and Bronson in Water Valley, Mississippi. Michael and Jannell spent a year and a half writing parts and shaping the songs, many of which were originally intended for the second album by Beaux Animaux (Michael’s previous band) and feature lyrics by Evan Rowe. The project transcended its bedroom origins in April of 2018, when Michael took the songs to Bronson, recording engineer at Dial Back Sound in Mississippi. The four days at Dial Back would mark the only time any of the band members would be in the same room together. Originally, the plan was to add live drums and improve the sound of the tracks recorded by Michael and Jannell, but after the work began, Bronson took a much more active role, adding new sounds and sculpting the songs into new shapes through editing.
Upon emerging from the Dial Back crucible, the songs were transfigured, becoming something more than they were previously, inhabiting new dimensions and imbued with new colors. The thirteen songs on Coral Moon are threaded with melancholy and longing even at their most upbeat, and they spirit the listener to a place outside of time, a beach suffused with moonlight that runs along the edge of a seething, black ocean. Coral Moon is a unique artifact, a relic from a world that never existed, created through the joining of three people who are, and remain, miles away.