Shannon Shaw: Shannon in Nashville review – Power, nuance and character

Shannon in Nashville
    
Artist: Shannon Shaw
Genre: Country
Label: Nonesuch

The seasoned pop literati will get the reference, a clever doff of the hat to the classic Dusty in Memphis. Big shoes to fill for a longtime bassist/singer with a quirky American west coast band (Shannon and the Clams), now taking her first solo steps.

But big is the name of the game here. Shannon Shaw has a big voice and a big personality, and this is a wide-screen production packed with big, dramatic, hugely enjoyable songs that pay homage to white 1960s soul/pop.

Some such as Cryin’ My Eyes Out are irresistible retro confections. Others, such as the opening Golden Frames are slow-burning belters. Almost all 13 tracks sizzle with intensity, catchy choruses and a keen sense of the era.

While references abound, they all melt happily into the mix. The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach is the man behind the wheel; he wrote or cowrote many of the songs, recreated the 1960s arrangements, produced the record and generally set the stage for Shannon.


But she grabs the mike, makes it her own, and in the process reveals herself to be a gifted singer of power, nuance and character.