Welcome to HazyShade Productions
HazyShade Productions is an independent micro record label and music publishing company based in Richmond, Virginia, representing the music of singer/songwriter Kirsten "Haze" Hazler, her acoustic duo, Haze & Dacey, and related projects.
New Album Coming Soon!
“The Muse is something strange,” says songwriter Kirsten “Haze” Hazler, reflecting on the creative process. “I feel more like a medium than a writer… Sometimes a snippet of melody or a wisp of a lyric lingers in my head for months or years before it is ready to become a full song. Sometimes it all comes pouring out of nowhere, and is finished within a half hour.” Her most recent body of work was inspired by bingeing on the first two seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale, which in turn was based on the novel of the same name, written by Margaret Atwood back in 1985. The Muse was quite insistent that Haze write an entire album, and so Letters from Gilead was born.
Since 2012, Haze has been half of the acoustic indie-folk duo known as Haze & Dacey, entertaining audiences at various breweries, wineries, and concert series throughout Virginia and beyond. Her partner John Dacey was the first to hear the new songs as they emerged, starting in early 2019, and was quick to add bass lines and some vocal harmonies. They started performing many of the songs at their live shows, and began hatching plans to start recording in 2020.
And then the pandemic hit, and everything, including recording, was put on hold. A year rolled around, a year in which Atwood’s dystopian novel was uncannily close to real life, right down to the U.S. government almost being overthrown by a far-right radical mob. The collection of songs seemed more relevant than ever, and Haze was tired of waiting for the right conditions to record. She recruited a band, which would later come to be known as The Haze & Dacey Collective. The band members practiced individually to the scratch tracks Haze recorded in her living room.
In February of 2021, the band masked up and headed into the warehouse that served as the temporary home of the Sound of Music Studio in Richmond, Virginia. In the capable hands of recording and mixing engineer John Morand, they brought Haze’s musical vision to life. The process took several months, with recording and mixing sessions interrupted by everyone’s day jobs and “other annoying adult obligations”.
On the album, Haze handles lead and some backing vocals, acoustic guitar, and piano, while Dacey holds down the low end with both upright and electric bass as well as backing vocals. The Collective fleshes out the sound with drums (Blee Child), electric guitar (Leslie Williams), mandolin (Doug Austin), saxophone (Allen Burris), and additional vocals (Jolie Harrison, Megan Rollins, and Doug Hewitt).
The album as a whole defies categorization into a single genre. Straightforward roots-rock (Letters from Gilead, Closet Scrawl, Under His Eye), alt-country/indie-folk (My Name is June, Blue, Sliver of Joy), speakeasy swing (Jezebel’s), a lullaby (Hannah), and a piano ballad that shifts into something like gospel (Feels So Good to Fly) all coexist on an album that concludes with a piece that would be right at home on a musical theater stage (Oh Canada). The common thread is the stories of people hanging on to love, hope, courage, and humanity, while trying to survive the dystopian nightmare that is Gilead.
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