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Shawn  Dodd - State Of Mind
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

Ask Shawn Dodd what his musical disappointments are and he’ll answer you in one sentence. “It seems as if everything in the business revolves around money and as an independent artist, those funds are rarely available”. Then, as quickly, he changes gears. “But on the flip side, the journey has to be enjoyed because it’s an adventure. You have to appreciate the struggles, if you are ever going to appreciate the prize.”

Country newcomer Shawn Dodd is both optimistic and talented. Coming from East Texas, the singer (he writes as well, but not on this debut) has not only strong hopes for his 10-tracker, State Of Mind (Old Saltillo Records), but he has solid personal plans, too.

“Naturally I want a contract with a major label,” says Dodd. “Being under the dog is great in theory, but I really need a major, if I’m going to reach the level in my career that I want. But for the guy who counts Willie, Garth and Alan as his inspirations, he readily adds that being able to stretch himself as an artist is the driving goal.

For Dodd, who honed his talent the hard way via the rodeo, picnic, fair and hoot and holler of honky tonks, the album’s tracks offer a rich take on a voice that scoots with shades of Joe Diffie. Add in a traditional style, and Dodd has the needed timbre that readily explains a 2004 Album of the Year nomination on a syndicated radio show.

The title track opens the album. One of three Jonathon Ruppel-penned tunes, it’s a teary tale telling of the changing fortunes of love, based on the lady’s mood. With a backdrop of fiddles and harmony, Dodd builds the song with a stylish flair that’s both gritty and captivating. His voice nails the needed image, not by straining his emotions but by using pitch and variation – it’s a trait that finds pleasing expression across the whole album.

“I like State Of Mind” tells Dodd, “It came to me through providence, and I have since formed a great friendship with the Ruppels.” In the chronology of the album, Ruppel was a school friend of Dodd’s sister. Long story short saw Ruppel and Dodd’s sister hooked up for a school reunion. Dodd’s sis knew Ruppel wrote songs, her brother needed some. And that’s how you end up on a country music album.

If you’re looking for an album descriptor here, try slick and paced. It comes courtesy of producer Mike McClain. He’s also credited by Dodd with picking most of the tunes. “She’s Cleaning House,” a rocky domestic tale involving the wholesale clearance of our hero’s possessions to the street, the ode to Mom heard on “Never Met Mamma,” and the fiddle-laced hurtin’ and leavin’ ache of “The Memory Is The Last Thing To Go” all keenly show Dodd may be the voice, but McClain is the ear. Other standouts include the lesson learning track of don’t get revenge, get a life on “Have A Nice Day,” and the toe-tapping infection of the twang-lead “You Can’t Hide Love”.

This is a stitch right not made by numbers album. Shawn Dodd is a guy on a charted mission, already with a new album of originals in the wings, the lanky Texan is someone for the notebook to watch and wait on. His vocals, labeled by one critic as complete with a Texas aftertaste, come charged, keen and clear – a voice made for country.

“I am not all that interesting, or at least I don’t think I am,” tells Dodd. “I’m just an average guy trying to chase down a dream.” But, as we know, it all starts with a state of mind.

Buy The CD Now!

Official Site: www.shawndodd.com  

State Of Mind song list:

1. State of Mind
2. Trouble with Angels
3. She's Cleaning House
4. Never Met Mama
5. Love Like This
6. Have a Nice Day
7. God's Precious Miracles
8. You Can't Hide Love
9. Call me a Fool
10. The Memory is the Last Thing to Go


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