Shelley King, 2008 Official State Musician of Texas, presents us with a new offering, Welcome Home, that that not only highlights the flexibility of her vocal talent, but also underscores the craftsmanship that she and the Subdudes (John Magnie, Tim Cook and Steve Armedée) put into each and every song. One factor of craft that really standouts out in this recording is King’s minimalist approach to instrumentation. She doesn’t overpower a song with excessive instrumental support. In fact, the title song opens with a simple acoustic strum that supports the power of the vocals (which are absolutely awesome). The wailing undertones provided by the accordion and percussive support of the other instruments paints a picture of old time gospel that is quite engaging.
Another minimalist song is King’s, “I Remember”. Basically using vocals, drums, and a touch of harmonica, King draws you into the energy of the song. The crispness of the recording allows the listener to feel every bit of the drum work. Each element balances the other perfectly.
Where fuller instrumentation is provided, King ensures that a musical balance is maintained. This balances allows her to take us on a musical journey that includes gospel numbers (Welcome Home, Grain of Sand), south Texas zydeco influenced melodies (Everything’s All Right), bluesy numbers (I Can’t Make It Easy), country-influence (How You Make Me Feel, Falling Fast) and even a reprise of “Welcome Home” that emphasizes the old-timey nature of the song through a simulated early radio sound. Each number supports the next in the album, though they may be of completely different styles.
“Summer Wine” is a song that has received international air play already. However, there are many songs on this album that should be getting radio time. A song like “Asking Too Much” exudes the Texas sound. A beautiful melody is supported with great vocals and accordion work; one finds themselves transported into a Texas frame of mind. “Grain of Sand” has a folksy gospel sound that draws you into the song with the deep bass vocal backup and the excellent organ work.
King shows the flexibility of her talent in this album. Going beyond the fact that she was the first woman selected for the post of Official State Musician of Texas, in Welcome Home, King shows that she is a master song craftsman; perfect instrumentation for the mood of her songs, supported by a fantastic cast of musicians. This is definitely an album to pick on your holiday gift list!
Welcome Home is available from iTunes, Amazon, and CD Universe along with King’s albums, Call of My Heart (1998), The Highway (2002), Rockin’ the Dancehall (2004), Armadillo Bootleg #1 (2008). Lemonade Records (email@example.com), based in Austin, was created by artists far the support of artists. Operating in a fiercely competitive environment, Lemonade Records is a lean and mean outfit which combines the functions of a traditional record label with artist booking, show and media promotions and national and international tour services. Lemonade Records, P.O. Box 33097, Austin, TX 78764 (512-386-6355).
Posted by: John South
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