Shelley Short 

A Cave, A Canoo

Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Shelley Short resists easy categorization. She's got a light, sultry, and subtly expressive warble with an ever-so-slight drawl that evokes jazz singers Billie Holiday and Mildred Bailey (along with contemporary folk-rocker Victoria Williams). Stylistically, Short's songs are spare and minimalist in the manner of neo-folk chanteuses Faun Fables and Marissa Nadler, but she's a few shades lighter in tone and lets a few mournful strains of country music waft into the mix.

Her songs have a gentle, languid pace, and her palette includes electric guitar, synthesizer, flute, and trumpet, but chiefly for embellishment, and the acoustic bass of jazz ace Glen Moore (coincidentally a member of the band Oregon) provides a primal foundation on a few tracks. Short's lonesome but compassionate voice conveys the melodies, her lyrics flow with the elemental starkness of ancient nursery rhymes and Anglo-American folk tales and, occasionally, the Gothic poetry/prose of Edward Gorey. "Familiar" has the throbbing cadence of a heartbeat and the resolute drive of Delta blues (And since I met you I'm afraid of dying), while Moore's bowed bass wails and wheezes like a male voice.

A Cave could use a bit more diversity of tempo and mood — it has such a downcast overall ambience that after a thorough listening I felt like playing some Leonard Cohen or Mark Eitzel for a quick pick-me-up. But it's a fascinating set, especially if you're up for a synthesis of Victoria Williams and Lisa Germano. (Hush)

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay

2020

© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation