Similar to the title track of her debut album, Rachael Shaner lives like a fast-walking bass riff, perpetually in motion.
One of Savannah's most prolific and perhaps more unique musicians, Shaner is releasing "Kingdom's Fall" under her solo project moniker Lulu The Giant.
A Savannah native, Shaner began her adventure in music early on. Originally she studied violin, but in second grade she saw a fifth-grader with a double bass.
"I was like this guy is the coolest one on stage, chilling in the back, making this big warm sound," Shaner said. "It struck me. I have to play that. I begged my teacher. Please, let me play that. She said you're not big enough. So I ate a lot of peanut butter."
It seemed to work. After pleading with her teacher over and again, she was finally able to take a crack at the double bass. Her awestruck youth, which shattered masculine stereotypes associated with the instrument, blossomed into a full-time career in music.
A graduate of Savannah Arts Academy, Shaner studied English in college and minored in music. She left academia near graduation to pursue music full-time. As a proverbial "hired gun" in Savannah, she's played with numerous bands and all over the region.
Shaner uses the band name Lulu The Giant to separate her work with other musicians from her own music; the latter of which seeps into her live sets. Lulu is a family name for Shaner, and The Giant is a nod to her younger self's desire to be tall enough to handle the double bass.
Venturing to Athens to record, Shaner worked with Suny Lyons of Popheart Productions, who has also worked with Savannah's Coy Campbell and Dare Dukes in the past. Shaner approached the album in a slightly different way than most musicians do.
The double bass is her primary musical weapon. Working with Lyons, they constructed the songs from the bass up. Lyons played electric guitar on the album and the two added other instruments around Shaner's immaculate voice and bass work. Les Racquet's Daniel Malone seamlessly added the drums last, a rarity in recorded music.
"I write on the bass, so I wanted to keep the feel of what I wrote on the bass originally," Shaner said. "The bass is a very percussive instrument, but it's obviously a string instrument. So it can create these chord progressions and structures. I wanted to put the bass in the spotlight where it generally never is, but it can be."
Inspired by her hometown, Shaner leaned on her studies in English to sculpt songs that not only vary in tone and style, but also tell delicate stories from the world she's experienced. Harnessing influence from country western, Americana, folk and jazz, "Kingdom's Fall" spans emotional cadences while sticking with a traditionally Southern feel.
"You don't consider building the foundation of your debut album on the image of a kingdom falling," Shaner said. "That's the case. That's where a lot of the lyrics came from. It's this rubble from childhood, from Savannah - from Savannah growing. From Savannah changing in good ways and in bad ways. There's bright sides to it and dark sides to it.
"Overall, starting from a ground level and getting back to neutral. I am back to the beginning and back to the roots of it. I think when you've played so long for so many people, you have to find your voice again. When you're a hired gun for multiple people and multiple bands, you have to strip it back down."
Shaner is pulling from Savannah's deep bank of talented musicians for the release show at Trinity United Methodist Church. Malone will be joining her on drums. Alex Bazemore, a Tybee native, will be playing guitar. Longtime Savannah musician Igor Fiksman will join Shaner on pedal steel and prolific lead guitarist Anders Thomsen will also make an appearance.
"We've been rehearsing every day," Shaner said. "We're very much trained and disciplined to present the best possible product. We have this great music that Suny has produced and we want to pay homage to that. Having a live show and wanting it to be just as great as the album."
"Kingdom's Fall" will be available on CD at the show and on a digital platform yet to be announced. Shaner will also have T-shirts and some other goodies.
"I don't think I am one in a million," Shaner said. "I don't know what this is. I might be chilling in the bars in 10 years. That would be fine. I love playing music. I love getting to share my original material and I hope everyone gets excited about that."
IF YOU GO
What: Lulu The Giant debut album release party
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 2
Where: Trinity United Methodist Church, 225 W. President St.