Shannon in Nashville
The obvious aim here is to reference Dusty in Memphis and though this can’t quite hold a candle – its got lighter-in-the-air attitude and if just some of the fans of that sublime Dusty Springfield gave Shannon Shaw a chance it might be a better world.
Shannon in Nashville has Shannon Shaw – she of Shannon & The Clams, a delightful Oakland trio that has been killing it live and on record for a decade, and feels and looks and sounds like the sort of band dreamed up over a chinwag between John Waters and Quentin Tarantino – out on her own. A star turn in the making.
But fear not, the solo debut of Ms. Shaw is not the end of the Clams, no – no. For they released a terrific new album just a bit earlier this year. And that album’s producer – the Dan Auerbach guy, terrific taste, at least most of the time – has latched on and doesn’t want to let go. He invited Shaw to his Nashville studio and brought in session greats that had worked with Elvis and Neil Diamond…
The result is a stunner. It’s got Amy Winehouse and Nicole Atkins all over it. Where, when with The Clams, Shaw can sound like Ronnie Spector and Wanda Jackson here she’s just a bit more subdued.
Actually it feels a bit like a great Roy Orbison record (was there any other kind?)
Shaw is all in on this. She’s playing a role – but nailing it, living it, loving it. And as shimmering, shining, fuzzy guitars and lovely loping drum clips sit in behind her she’s all big-voiced and doe-eyed, cooing and crying heartbreak one minute, a little stoic Patsy Cline turn here, a touch of Lesley Gore there. Next minute she’s shouting the house down. And I’m pretty sure she (mostly) means it.
You could listen to this just for the instrumentation, for Auerbach’s intuitive grasp of the very correct feels. You could listen to this for Shaw’s virtuoso turn. The end result is the perfect marriage. She’s an actor, essentially. But there’s no madness, only method. She has this down.
A top notch record – the sort of gem loved by all that gets to it. Let’s share this about then, spread the word, help her get even further along on her way. She’s got real deal star-value. And the playing, the songs, the production here – it’s a meeting ground of magic touches. A wonderful thing has happened, has been caught on tape. It’s here. Grab hold of it. Fill your ears.
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