FAME Review: Shannon McNally - Western Ballad
Shannon McNally - Western Ballad

Western Ballad

Shannon McNally

Available from Louisiana Music Factory.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Shannon McNally might be feeling prolific, as this is her second disc to be released within about a year, the first was the much-lauded Coldwater, that she did with Jim Dickinson. This latest disc has nine new songs co- written by McNally and Mark Bingham, the title track was written by Allen Ginsberg, and a traditional song, Little Stream Of Whiskey, a traditional tune arranged by Mark Bingham, who is also the producer of this disc. Originally McNally and Bingham just wanted to get together at his Piety Street Studio and write, then things kind of took off and the songs started flowing and ideas were percolating and flowing, so they continued and this gem is the result. It was recorded at Bingham's studio in New Orleans without her usual band, Hot Sauce, but rather a group that Ryan brought in once the writing was done. There is the familiar McNally cohort, Dave Easley on pedal Steel, James Alsanders on drums and percussion, Jimbo Walsh on piano and bass among others, and McNally of course handles the vocals and does a very tasteful job on lead guitar that is as notable for what she plays as for what she doesn't play.

The songs explore the topics that haunt many writers, such as mortality, purpose of life, everyday joys and sorrows and so forth, but with a clarity that comes from two minds pulling at the subject. Both of these musicians are people who lived in New Orleans through the havoc wreaked by Katrina (they finished work during the days of the oil spill). McNally has her usual evocative voice—both sultry and gritty at the same time—in fine form for this disc. The songs are heart felt and honest and bring their truths home. It is a disc that holds together very well and all the way through, there aren't weak cuts to take the disc off course, or distract. It is a powerful disc propelled by her distinctive voice, that places her many talents as a singer, guitar player, and songwriter out there for all to hear.

Track List:

  • Memory Of A Ghost
  • High
  • When I Am Called
  • Western Ballad
  • True Possession
  • Tristesse Oubliee
  • Thunderhead
  • Rock and Roll Angels
  • Toast
  • Little Stream Of Whiskey

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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