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Bolder Than Paradise Limited Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Limited Edition, July 10, 2000
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Editorial Reviews


Like Sheryl Crow or the latest incarnation of Shelby Lynne, Shannon McNally blends a dash of country, a cup of soul, and a smattering of singer-songwriter verve--a concoction that ought to please fans of the aforementioned gals. McNally's debut EP bodes well for a promising future. Her voice has a sultry swagger and it benefits here from some nifty arrangements. On the opening "Down and Dirty," for example, you can detect the scent of gritty blues-soul wafting from somewhere underneath the breezy dance track, but the combination clicks. The highlight of these six songs is "Love Hate," a quiet shuffle with both gentle pedal steel and horn-section accents. The quirky little romp "Just Like Chicken" is kind of fun, as is the groovy cover of Paul Simon's "50 Ways," though neither is about to set the world afire. Still, there's enough interesting stuff here to make one look forward to McNally's forthcoming full-length. --Marc Greilsamer

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Down And Dirty
  2. Bitter Blue
  3. Bolder Than Paradise
  4. Love Hate
  5. Just Like Chicken
  6. 50 Ways

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2000)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B00004UERX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
I discovered Shannon McNally at a Stevie Nicks concert in late summer (one of the few that took place before Nicks had to postpone her tour) - wandering around the venue, I was attracted by the sound of a Fender Strat coming from a small stage, soon joined by an unusual singer's voice. The singer turned out to be McNally who, supported only by her own acoustic guitar and a friend playing the aforementioned Fender, was showcasing a few songs from her "Bolder than Paradise" EP and from her upcoming debut album "Jukebox Sparrows," due out later this year.

It's hard to describe a voice without comparing it to that of other singers (and without, thus, coining a certain image, true and welcome or not) - an entire list of rock divas to whom to compare McNally's voice would come to mind; yet, she is not just a Bonnie-Raitt-, Sheryl-Crow-, Shania-Twain- or Alanis-Morissette-sound-alike. If you've only heard her EP or seen the video for "Down and Dirty," you'd be even more surprised if you hear her perform live; in that medium (particularly with the sparse instrumentation over which I saw her perform) her voice is even more powerful ... and hearing the blues inflections that seem to be such a natural and integral part of her singing, you'd never believe she is actually from New York City!

Most of the songs on her EP and the upcoming album were written over the past couple of years (the EP also contains a funky cover of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," though); and if "Bolder Than Paradise" is any indication of things to come, McNally had the opportunity to work with top-notch musicians - notably, Bob Glaub and Paul Bushnell on bass, Jim Keltner and James Gadson on drums and David Woodford on baritone sax in "Just Like Chicken.
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Format: Audio CD
I saw the video for "Down and Dirty" and was intrigued. So far, this is the only commericial release available for Shannon McNally; this ep, however, is good enough to tide one over until the release of her proper debut. A country-ish sheen dominates the album -- McNally sounds like a younger and brasher Bonnie Raitt, with a little Neko Case and Sheryl Crow thrown in for good measure. The instrumentation is straightforward -- guitar, organ, and some heavy bottom end. Occasionaly, a theremin is used, or some horns to add nuance. The arangements, and song writing, however, are inventive, which keeps the album from being blandly professional. Stand out tracks include, "Down and Dirty," "Bolder Than Paradise," and a nice cover of Paul Simon's "5o Ways (To Leave Your Lover)." I'm certainly looking forward to hearing her LP to see if, in the interim, McNally has added a little more experimentation (think "Summer Teeth") and gravitas (Beth Orton).
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