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Shannon Whitworth

Water Bound – 2010 (Thirty One Tigers)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

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CDs by Shannon Whitworth

If there was shelf of vocal styles, it would seem that South Carolina native Shannon Whitworth would fall exactly between the jazz-tinged or bluesy feel of Shelby Lynne and the roots-y, earthy flavor of Patty Griffin. Such is the result of the well-rounded offering Whitworth has created and written with help from producer Nelson Hubbard.

Whitworth seems to run the genre gamut quite effortlessly, whether it's the Dixie Chicks-like pop on Spring Is Here that has her on banjo or the breezy, atmospheric and soothing Run To Roll On Home. But it's the sincerity of the material which comes to the fore time and time again, especially on the simple moody nugget Can't Look In Your Eyes with its bluesy feel.

When Whitworth slows the pace down, it makes her vocals all the more alluring, particularly on the dusty, airy and very tranquil Mermaid's Song with its lap steel accents. Yet she shows a bit more moxie on the gospel-leaning, slow-building Wrong Kind Of Man that Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss or Emmylou Harris might take a crack at covering. And fortunately the lighter material such as All The Same doesn't have much gloss to them, resulting in better end results.

The lone weak spot might come during the pop-blues shuffle of Don't Lie, which feels a hair forced as she sings about running with the devil. Yet a similar roots-rock blueprint comes together rather quickly during one of the highlights entitled Put Me Back. Well that and the closing, terribly tender Am I A Stranger makes this album sail almost perfectly.