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Joan Shelly's found a more complex sound

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Joan Shelley, Joan Shelley
  • Joan Shelley, Joan Shelley
Jeff Tweedy recently released a solo acoustic re-working of Wilco songs, but his biggest 2017 accomplishment is producing and playing bass for Joan Shelley’s self-titled release. Kentucky-based Shelley is known for her breathtaking folk lyrics in Appalachian traditionalist style, but Tweedy gives her a more complex sound without burying her simple beauty. After three solo albums and a duo outing with Daniel Martin Moore, Shelley decided to revise her acoustic guitar technique, taking longtime collaborator Nathan Salsburg with her to Tweedy’s Chicago studio. The songs remain unadorned, somehow both starker and richer than her previous works. Tracks like “Wild Indifference” almost have a murder-ballad quality about them, while “The Push and Pull” offers unexpected backbeat rhythms. Sometimes a listener might miss the freewheeling touch of 2015’s Over and Even album, but Shelley clearly has hit a new and exciting level.
File next to: Big Thief, Julie Byrne, Linda Thompson

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