Joan Shelley - Over and Even

In doing an independent music podcast I hear many good bands. Some so good that it amazes me that they haven’t become more famous in this day and age where music is increasingly accessible. While not having played Joan Shelley on my show, not wanting to step on rights issues, she definitely falls into this camp as well. If there is any justice her third release, Over and Even, will help to rectify this situation.

Joan Shelley is an independent artist based out of the Louisville, Ky area. She has collaborated with a number of local artists over the years, most notably Daniel Michael Moore and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. She has also played old time Appalachian music with Cheyenne Marie Mize and Julia Purcell in the band Maiden Radio. Her solo style is a bit more modern, though tinged with some of the old country sensibilities. I would compare her style to Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell. She has a strong voice and normally accompanies it with a guitar or piano in a laid back folk style.

With a push of autumn like weather this past weekend her new album could not have been released at a more perfect time. Cool breeze, a warm beverage, and Joan Shelley’s music are a killer combination. I speak from experience. The album is beautifully produced. Each song is a gentle masterpiece in and of itself. Listening to this album gives me the same feeling as listening to Fleet Foxes the first time. In both cases there is a certain, indescribable something that underlies the music. It is a sincerity or genuineness that can’t be manufactured. It is a magical moment captured for all time. I think this verse from the title track in some ways sums up the album for me:

Outside the river flows
Its course unfolding
A strength it never knows
A sweet outpouring
— “Over and Even”

All of that to say this is an album and artist to pay attention to. While I can’t predict the future I can say Over and Even falls into my top 5 albums of the year. Check out some of her music on her soundcloud page and then go buy this album.

Here is the second track from the album “Stay On My Shore.”

Joan Shelley
Over and Even
No Quarter Records
September 4th, 2015

Overall Score
97 %

A laid back folk album perfect for a cool autumn day or any day that just needs some musical magic.

Lyrics 95%
Vocals 98%
Instrumentation 97%

About The Author

System analyst by financial necessity. Writer by necessity of expression. DJ because music is in my Top 5 essentials for living. I grew up on a steady diet of comic books, science fiction/fantasy, and a wide variety of musical genres.

In addition to writing for Destroy the Cyborg I also produce a weekly podcast at Idiosyncratic Transmissions.

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