Canadian singer/songwriter carries an impressive resume. Her songs have been recorded by Anne Murray, Rita Coolidge, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Cher. An instrumental…
Canadian singer/songwriter carries an impressive resume. Her songs have been recorded by Anne Murray, Rita Coolidge, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Cher. An instrumental she wrote at 15 ("Pickin' My Way") was recorded by guitar great Chet Atkins. On this, her tenth album, she wrote, produced, arranged, and engineered the project at her home studio.
The CD came with a sticker saying, "All instrumental CD plus one vocal song." In most cases, this means record company pressure to include a vocal as a possible hit or cross-over tune. In this case, with Shirley in complete control, it means that while all her other recordings are vocal based, this was an instrumental project she had wanted to do.
The CD opens with the one vocal track, "Some New Thrill." Wow! What a voice. Smoky, dark, mysterious - she reminds me of Cassandra Wilson or Joni Mitchell, with that same type of sensualness that wraps itself around you. "Song For Lesley" features nylon string guitar. Her playing is melodic and self assured. And if that's not enough, her chromatic harmonica playing is gorgeous. She has the same sort of touch as Toots Thielemans, or even Stevie Wonder. "End of the day is another show case for her harmonica playing.
"Detour Home" has her playing sax with a full voiced sound. Is there anything she can't do? "Sculpting A Masterpiece" features nylon string guitar again. It's a gentle bossanova that recalls Jobim. "Tiger, Gentle Tiger" brings back her smoky voice in an instrumental capacity. She soars effortlessly over the gentle strings and guitar background.
Throughout, Shirley plays keyboards, drums, bass, and all other instruments. She has a gift for melody and has created a winning recording. If you like moody, smooth jazz, then check this out.