Joan Shelley: Electric Ursa | Album Review

Thu, Feb 19, 2015, 16:11


Electric Ursa

Joan Shelley

No Quarter


There is an otherness, a soft stillness in Joan Shelley’s voice, that seeks meaning in experience and memory, in Something Small, as she sings on the open- ing track. She evokes in her lyrical fragments an unpreten- tious sepia world of private concerns and cautious hope and though some arrangements are quite dense, her pure voice and finger-picked acoustic guitar remain the spine of all eight tracks. Her sparse sound is at times redolent of 1970s English folk but the major influence is the new Kentucky folk music inspired by Daniel Martin Moore (her partner on 2012’s gorgeous Farthest Field). Strangely, her own version of First of August suffers just a little in comparison but Rising Air, River Low and the sublime Moss & Marrow all hit the spot. With the grace of good timing she tours here next month. Not to be missed.