Joan Shelley: The Spur evaluation – timeless and very important Americana

Okayentucky singer-songwriter Joan Shelley has a dulcet voice and a mellifluous approach about her Americana. However her work – knowledgeable, not sure, by people and nation – is commonly extra clear-eyed and unsentimental than its prettiness suggests. “I drank their milk and wore their conceal, ” she observes typicAmber litAmberlit Morning, an understated rural meditation off The Spur, her newest outing. Invoice Callahan friends; a powerful key change unsettles even because it impresses.

Every thing upended between 2019 and 2021, the arc of Shelley’s lucid seventh album. Shelley was consciously putting down roots after a lifetime of toulock downn lockdown hit. Tending goats and chickens, she additionally discovered time to breed and marry – a stark distinction of home hope and pleasure offsetting the tumult on this planet – and document The Spur.

Eternally Blues retains up her unusual approach with phrases – “Do I lease you all the time, is the hire coming due?” – whereas Just like the Thunder, about new love, is each traditional-sounding and laced with carnality. Human character research alternate with vignettes from nature all through. However the album peaks with Between Rock & Sky, a timeless observe that raises a glass “to those who made us and people for whom we’ll die”. It is a document full of chic comfort, however one which refuses to patronise the listener.

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