In a time of overproduction and excessive sound manipulation and very contrary to those current trends Joan Shelley has elevated her art to its high level with just her natural voice and two guitars. Listen to her current album «Over And Even» it’s all there and it’s as pure and energizing as a shot of rich Kentucky bourbon. It’s an album that has its roots clearly in British folk. In fact, the late Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention of the late 60’s and early 70’s comes to mind. Joan has this quiet reserve, she doesn’t get in your face with false passion but passion’s there, simmering underneath her cool demeanor and getting under your skin and slow-winding itself to your heart and soul. She performs with a laissez-faire approach, she has the strength to let things be, nothing’s orchestrated. Deceptively simple her art proves very elegant.
Does it surprise that «Over And Even» was recorded in a cold country barn just last year? Fellow Kentucky roots-singer song-writer Daniel Martin Moore produced. Friends stopped by and helped out. Rachel Grimes with feather light chords from her piano, Will Oldham lending his voice and backing hers up. The only full-time band mate is Daniel Salsburg and his acoustic guitar. What the two of them dream up in melodies of intertwining guitar play is nothing less than breathtaking. Her lyrics are breezy and sunny, bucolic and light, fluid and fresh like the fragrances of the countryside and are radiating tranquility.
But it’s her voice that’ll simply kill you. It’s as appetizing as a warm fresh loaf of bread and it creates an immediate longing for more. Joan Shelley obliges and the feast is on.