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Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy

A Tell All – 2013 (Sweet Nectar)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy

Drive-By Truckers is a musical corporation that continues to pay lucrative stock split dividends, first with the departure of guitarist Jason Isbell and now with "A Tell All," the solo debut of bassist Shonna Tucker and freshly minted band, Eye Candy. Isbell and Tucker, ex-band mates and ex-spouses, were both utility writers for primary songsmiths Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, and eventually felt the need to break away from their roles as DBT's George Harrison.

Tucker proves up to the daunting task of relocating to stage front on "A Tell All," a muscular, yet nuanced set that offers up a soulful pastiche of twang-tinted Southern rock and country pop. The short, but powerful album immediately jumps to attention with When Jimmy Came, a hard-charging blast of Stonesy energy mashed up with a rusty truckload of Alabama attitude. Over the course of the next nine songs, Tucker and her crack band weave a entrancing spell, from the crackling Lucinda Williams move-busting of Your Jealousy to the funky, groovy slink of A Family Dinner to the loping Dollyesque country folk of Old Fashioned to the gritty blues stomp of I Brought a Pie. The angelic and anthemic hymnal of You Went All the Way closes the album with a lovely sigh, the same sigh that will escape the listener at the realization that it's over all too soon.

"A Tell All" is an important benchmark for Tucker as she establishes her own identity apart from the band that made her a known entity, and it's a magnificent first step.