FFS New Bands Panel: The Paper Shades


There is nothing complicated about the Paper Shades, a duo in which both Sarah Dollar and Jon Rixon sing and play guitar, but from this simple formula, our panel found some great results.

ShaunShaun McCoy: The Paper Shades have created an appetizing, polished EP. Sarah Dollar and Jon Rixon combine smooth vocal harmonies with shimmering acoustic guitars. It shows off some excellent artistry, matching fine arrangements with meaningful lyrics. Low Winter Sun sees Jon taking the lead, flowing over Sarah’s elegant backing. We have rich sounding strings accompanied by percussion effects reminiscent of waves hitting a shore line. On Lacewing Sarah delivers a beautiful melancholic vocal to harp-like sounding guitars. A feeling of optimism is reached through there reassuring lyrics.

Anna HeadshotAnna Mellor: The Paper Shades claim their influences as Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes and Nick Drake among many others, but the sound they create seems to be rooted much more strongly in traditional folk music. This would not at all feel out of place at a local village folk festival. The guitar melodies are complex and the vocal lines often too but with an overall very simple feeling to the tracks. Sarah Dollar’s voice is dreamy and the harmonies provided by Jon Brian are a very nice touch. I don’t think this sort of music has the ability to ‘make it’ anymore but I hope some people will find satisfaction in their music and their rather beautiful debut EP.

JonoJono Ganz: The interplay between Jon Rixon and Sarah Dollar, who make up folk duo The Paper Shades, is captivating. In fact, it’s hard to describe their music without going over the top with flowery vocabulary. For example, on their live recording of Follow Me, Dollar’s vocals shine with a polished pop sheen over the sullen momentum of the duelling guitars. Bear in mind that this was recorded live (in a living room, no less), without the kind of studio manipulation used so often nowadays to create artificially beautiful music. Their EP is full of perfectly executed vocal harmonies and tumbling, fingerpicked acoustic guitars. Give it a listen, if only to understand the floridness of my description.

Check out the Paper Shades for yourself here.

3 comments for “FFS New Bands Panel: The Paper Shades

  1. Simon BB
    20 November 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Just bought this EP. Sarah and John’s harmony singing sends shivers down my spine. I can’t wait to see them live.

  2. 20 November 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I first heard the Paper Shades earlier this year, there is a sheer and awesome power here in the simplicity of delivery, whether this is deliberate or not creates more power. The energy evoked comes from Mother Earth, Sarah’s vocals come from a place and time, a pristine domain of Isis, Jons guitar finds the place in your body where few musicians get to go. It is indeed very difficult to listen to this highly accomplished duo and not get into the overwhelm plain, but …. Yeah – I look forward to the album, thank you Paper Shades for putting a vibe back into a planet which was made for beauty and simplicity. 10

  3. D P Martin
    23 November 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Paper Shades supported my band in Southampton earlier in the year and right from that first hearing, I have to say I fell in love with their music immediately and indeed immediately bought the EP CD. That they played to a very sparse audience that night struck me a somewhat criminal – in my opinion they deserve a bigger stage and a much wider audience.

    I have told many people about them since that first gig and the only way I can describe the music in simple terms to those that ask, is to suggest it’s a kind of “modern day Simon & Garfunkel”. Those guys made a big impact back in the 70’s and I feel that Sarah and Jon have the potential to deliver at that same level to today’s youth. Whether the current video driven Cowell pop world has a place for such a cultured act is perhaps questionable. What is certain in my mind is that these guys deserve all the success they hopefully will get.

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