Saturday, February 1, 2014
With music described as “gritty and soulful, raucous and beautiful,” Seattle singer-songwriter Shelby Earl was named by NPR/LA Times music critic Ann Powers as her "new favorite songwriter" (see below for full letter), and her solo debut album, Burn the Boats (produced by John Roderick of the Long Winters, out on Local 638 Records) was named the "#1 Outstanding 2011 Album You Might Have Missed" by Amazon.com. She has since garnered praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, NPR, KEXP, No Depression, American Songwriter and many more. Earl’s sophomore album Swift Arrows (produced by Damien Jurado), was released July 23, 2013 to further critical acclaim, and in the words of Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie/Postal Service) it “proves [Shelby] has the most heartbreakingly beautiful voice in Seattle.”
East Nashville, TN November 2013-”Don’t walk away, I’m talking to you,” sings Aaron Lee Tasjan in the first chorus of the first song off of his new EP, Crooked River Burning. The song is aptly titled Don’t Walk Away and covers a lot of ground in four minutes and twenty-one seconds. It is, in it’s own way, much like the artist himself: filled with insight and brutal honesty, humorous and sincere in a fashion which is truly unique to the man delivering the song. These songs have been heard all across the USA this past year; in just about every bar, parking lot, van and music club that is still open and still puts on live music. As you listen to the songs on this EP, you begin to understand that while Tasjan seemingly works endlessly to bring his music to whomever will listen out on the road, he is also singing these songs because he has to. There is immense pain within the reedy Midwestern draw of his voice but also the ability to laugh at life’s misfortunes and ultimately transcend them by putting into words and music all of his thoughts and experiences along the way.