I may be the only writer in the blogosphere to have covered all three of Shannon Stephens' albums, but what the hell, it's good stuff, if wildly underheard and underappreciated...Anyway, #3 reviewed at Blurt yesterday.
Pull It Together
Shannon Stephens' third full-length is a rougher, harder-rocking affair than either 2008's Breadwinner or the reissued debut. Stephens puts a survivor's swagger into her jazzy, sinuous soprano, swallowing the bitterest stuff life can throw at her, and spitting it out in defiance. All but a few tracks smoulder with a blues-rocking heat, whether in boisterous, boot stomping style a la "Care of You" or in the minimalist thunder of "Wax and Feathers", Stephens' take on the Icarus myth. A couple of the slow ones - "Cold November" and "Responsible Too Long" - make you wonder what kind of torch singer Stephens might have turned into given half a chance, but for the most part, she's not here to mope and pine.