Shannon McNally

Western Ballad

by Andrew Gilstrap

23 February 2011

 
cover art

Shannon McNally

Western Ballad

(Sacred Sumac)
US: 8 Feb 2011
UK: Import

Last I checked in with Shannon McNally, she was an engaging live performer who wasn’t quite getting that spark into the grooves of some promising and diverse records. That was quite a few years ago, and it sounds like it might be time to dive back into her catalog to see what she’s been up to. Western Ballad is an accomplished and satisfying record. Recorded at New Orleans’ Piety Street Recording, Ballad finds McNally teaming with Mark Bingham for a shimmery record that swings from a bayou waltz (“Tristesse Oubliée”) to ramblin’ country piano (“True Possession”) to rock (“Thunderhead”) to heartfelt ballad (the showstopping “In My Own Second Line”) and several points in between. McNally’s languid vocals give even the tensest of tales (such as the life in “Rock and Roll Angels” that’s described as being “like the Book of Job in 3/4 time”) a loose, organic feel. Western Ballad creates a gentle current that pulls you along, and it’s a pleasure to relax and see where it takes you.

Western Ballad

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times.

//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Counterbalance: Elvis Costello's 'Imperial Bedroom'

// Sound Affects

"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

READ the article