past week has been beyond hectic and, to tell you the truth, I
really wasn't up to reviewing any album, let alone one by an
artist that I was unfamiliar with. So, with my deadline looming,
it was with great reluctance that I put this CD in my player. I
gathered up my notes and hit the "play" button; as
"In My Own Backyard" came floating out of my speakers,
I found myself smiling and I leaned back in my chair. I pushed
the keyboard away and slid a piece of paper in front of myself.
I knew I needed to make notes so I picked up a pencil. I wrote,
"track 1 - awesome voice/harmony/really nice banjo."
think that by the end of the third track, a bluesy, earthy
number with the appropriate title of "Blue Dress," I
was so into the voice and the music that I had stopped thinking
of anything else; I was just listening to the songs. By half way
through the fourth track, "The Place Your Love Calls
Home," this wonderfully serene voice had led me to a calm
and comfortable place and by the end of the last note of track
fifteen, I was leaning all the way back in my chair, feet
propped up and perfectly tranquil. It actually took me a moment
to realize that the album was over. On the piece of paper that
was to contain my notes I had only added "track 3 - great,
track 4 - WOW, <----track 5." That is the extent of my
notes and the reason is that I was just so into the listening
that I quit writing; quite honestly, a lot of the time I just
closed my eyes and let myself get lost in the lyrics and the
voice. I really needed a break from the craziness of this world
and Shawn King came calling right In My Own Backyard.
The entire album, from start to finish was pure pleasure.
as soon as this album was released, folks questioned whether or
not it was actually "country." I'm not totally certain
if several of the instrumental arrangements qualify as
"country" but when you hear King's bell-clear vocals
on songs like "In My Own Backyard," "Ghost of a
Chance," and "Closet of Ruby Red Slippers;" well,
for the betterment of the genre, I hope she stays with country.
were several stand out tracks and, believe me, picking just a
few from fifteen tracks wasn't easy. I really enjoyed the way
King delivered "Blue Dress." She seemed to
effortlessly alter her voice to accommodate the sultry feeling
of the lyrics. It was definitely one of my favorite tracks. I
loved the lyrics on "Strength in Numbers," but that
could be because I totally related and King's vocal delivery is
listening to her album from first note to last, it came as no
surprise to learn that she has been singing for most of her
life. Her father was Vice President of A&R for Capital
Records and her mother was a successful studio singer in
Hollywood. According to her bio, King got her own singing career
started at the ripe old age of three as a "studio
vocalist"; yep, three. This would certainly explain her
comfort level in front of a mic.
thoroughly enjoyed this album. I am a definite fan of King's
voice and I think her choice of songs borders on brilliant, with
the exception of the final track, but there is a reason for
including it so I'm willing to not let it affect how I feel
about the whole album. On a scale of one to ten; this one is a
out tracks: "In My Own Backyard", "Blue
Dress," "Ghost of a Chance," "Strength in
Numbers" "First Kiss," "I Sail,"