Brandi Shearer – Pink Lady / 2006 Self / 14 Tracks / http://www.brandishearer.com / http://www.amoeba.com
I spent the better part of my 18 years on Earth dogmatically honoring the industrial cacophony of bands like Wumpscut and Front Line Assembly, so it seemed a radical and incomprehensible move when I abandoned synthesizers in exchange for acoustic guitar.
I first fell in love with folk and acoustic music in Jackson Hole, Wyoming- a huge tourist town in the heart of the west. The hotel I was at hosted numerous aspiring folk musicians every night, and after listening to a few of them I became enthralled by the elegance and emotion of the genre. I began to research more of the music, discovering such talents as Damien Rice, Joni Mitchell, and most recently Brandi Shearer.
Folk is a genre with roots wrapped around Country music, so it comes as no surprise that much of Shearerâ€™s music lends itself to steel guitars and intense emotions. Folk is a more primitive, raw version of country however, making it much more solemn and, in my opinion, enjoyable.
Shearerâ€™s voice is captivating- textured, sultry, and just somber enough to be convincing. The constant, almost obsessive mourning typical of folk music penetrates almost all of Shearerâ€™s songs, and yet she is able to slide past being annoying- a difficult task reminiscent of great vocalists like Fiona Apple and Tori Amos.
With songs like â€œStronger than Meâ€ and â€œSwamplandâ€, the singer chooses a slightly upbeat melody to accompany her more jazzy, polished voice- a refreshing and interesting direction for the mostly mellow compilation. However, the songs â€œCongratulationsâ€ and â€œThatâ€™s How Youâ€™ll Knowâ€ are the most impressive. The rich, moody melodies balance a feel of 40â€™s jazz and Patsy Cline-esque Country, while still holding firm to melancholy Folk roots.
Unfortunately, Shearerâ€™s work is not devoid of imperfection. Her music is no doubt intriguing, but in a way that follows the grid of almost every album in the genre. Likewise, she is a wonderful vocalist, but the same wonderful as Nora Jones or Regina Spektor. These critiques are menial, though, since the album is the creation of both a young, unversed artist and label. A tad more refining and discipline could easily transform Brandi Shearer from an intriguing young fledgling to a refined, distinguished artist.
Rating- 7 Â½ / 10.