JOAN SHELLEY – ” Where I’ll Find You “

Posted: December 16, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: ,

We often associate the strongest emotions with loudness: a scream, a belly laugh, an agonizing cry, but Louisville singer songwriter Joan Shelley proves on her self-titled fifth album that deeply felt emotions can exist just as comfortably alongside stillness and quiet, potentially more so. Like Townes Van Zandt, Shelley is most powerful telling bedside tales that can unexpectedly level you with a slight twist of phrase. Coming seven years into her career, this Jeff Tweedy-produced effort finds Shelley, who describes herself as an “open nerve,” with the confidence and sigh of relief that often comes in your 30s, able to feel and think all at once without feeling completely overtaken in self-doubt. Drawing skillfully from Appalachian musical traditions, this album is a reminder that great American roots music still exists and that despite a constant feeling of crowdedness in the field, a voice and a guitar can still be more than enough when put in the hands of the right artist.

This Kentucky native writes simply and straightforwardly, with a singsong cadence in her vocal melodies and a sense of gentle purpose in guitar playing. “Where I’ll Find You” uses those elements to speak softly about hard desire: “I blamed the wind when my legs shook/ but your eyes, that hungry look.” It’s all the more powerful for being so understated, as she can barely admit to feelings she can’t even name.

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