Joan Shelley Over And Even on LP
Joan Shelly’s new album, Over And Even, was written in the back of an abandoned beauty parlor on the island of Thessaloniki. The whole thing had something to do with Vashti Bunyan. Maybe the Greek deal was really about Leonard Cohen. That’s Joanie’s jam: songs wide open enough to let the wind blow the curtains around, and solid enough to hang a ton of heartache on.
She writes smart, beautiful songs full of poetry, history, mystery and nature. Like all the best sad songs, they will make you cry. Then they will drag you outside and leave you flat on your back, staring up at the stars. Joan lands on a note like a laser beam on a diamond. Colors fly around the room, and her voice bends between them. People say her voice reminds them of Sandy Denny. It’s more than the vocal range. It’s a quiet power that draws you in.
Maybe Over And Even wasn’t written last winter on a Greek island. Maybe these songs were written a hundred years ago in a farm house somewhere in Kentucky. That’s where Joan is from, and that’s where she and guitar player Nathan Salsburg recorded all the basic tracks live. All the people who played on Joan’s new record – and Daniel Martin Moore who recorded and engineered it – are friends.
That comes through somehow in the sound of the album. Will Oldham and Glen Dentinger are genius harmony singers. They leave the perfect amount of space for microscopic shifts in Joan’s voice, without sacrificing their own awesome idiosyncrasies. Salsburg’s guitar follows every twist of the melody. When the song breaks your heart in two, Nathan is there with a high E-string to sew it back together.
Joan Shelley’s voice flows out like a river. It never travels in a straight line. It follows bends and curves carved by history. We are all lucky just to be swept away, and go with her wherever she’s going.
Joan Shelley Over And Even Track Listing:
1. Brighter Than The Blues
2. Stay On My Shore
3. Over And Even
4. Not Over By Half
5. Ariadne’s Gone
6. No More Shelter
7. Easy Now
8. Lure And Line
9. Jenny Come In
10. Wine And Honey
11. My Only Trouble
12. Subtle Love