STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 15957-10998 LABEL: Sparrow SPD11569 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2006-03-01 RRP: £10.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
There are hundreds of thousands of singer/songwriters who with their trusty acoustics in hand try and draw the listener into their particular inner world where thoughts and (hopefully) insights are expressed through one of the most intimate musical forms. Few indeed though are the artists of the calibre of Seattle resident Shawn McDonald. After six years touring as an independent artist, developing his music and crafting his songs, Shawn released his record label debut 'Simply Nothing'. This set surpasses that and is already topping all kinds of charts in his homeland. Throughout Shawn's voice retains a husky wistfulness perfect to convey the spiritual longing of many of his song themes while the production - 11 tracks by Christopher Stevens and four by Will Hunt - encase him in a full orchestra (the poignant opener "I Wanna Be Ready"), or accompany Shawn with shuffling percussion and a bubbling keyboard figure ("Reason"), an aching pedal steel ("Pour Out"), or a beautiful string quartet ("Lovely"). Very occasionally the accompaniments lose their sympathetic edge - I'm not sure the strange electronic effects on "Image" add anything to the Spanish guitar instrumental - but nearly always they bring light and shade to Shawn's glowingly sincere songs of redemption. And where the singer's voice breaks under the sheer emotion of "Lovely" it is a truly moving moment. This reviewer will through the year hear hundreds of devotional singer/songwriters presenting their muse on CD. I doubt though whether I'll hear a better album than this.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out