Rootstime Album Review

About a year ago we received Eryn Shewell's debut album, a record that impressed us enormously. Her special mix of blues, jazz and Motown soul was refreshing. But most of all, her powerful, soulful voice was a revelation to us. Her first album “Window Pane” remains one of a few debut records released last year that I continue to listen to over and over again. It continues to grow on me after all these months. Why? Because "Window Pane" was filled to the brim with strong songs, brought with craftmanship and delivered with that wonderful voice that is full, powerful and tender all at the same time and is always dripping with soul. In the review of “Window Pane” we predicted Eryn would have a great future, or at least hoped she would gain lots of recognition, because she simply deserved it. There is talent in abundance here.

Today we are listening to Eryn's recently released sophomore CD, named "4th & Broadway", a record which continues to blend genres in a similar fashion as her first. This new CD is full of variation and in our opinion has even stronger, more mature songs than her first. As happens too often these days, big record companies overlook potential like Eryns. We find it surprsing that this artist was not signed and this album is also an independent release. Maybe it's the versatility of this singer that scares the majors, she may be difficult to label..not enough blues, jazz or soul to pin her down into one specifc genre. However, we believe the best of popmusic is built on these strong genres and the fusion of genres is this CD's greatest strength. The songs Eryn writes are so strong that they transcend the standard blues, jazz and soul we hear so often and Eryn always adds something of her very own. The songs get better every time you listen to them not the other way around as often happens with the music we receive for review.

Songs like the very soulful, somewhat jazzy sounding "Moment" and the passionate "Satellite" are real gems. They get to you immediately and you'll be sure to be humming them after a short time listening to them. Eryn's strong lyrics about modern everyday life in relation to her own experiences will certainly touch your soul.

One of our favorite tracks on this new cd is is "300 Miles", a song with an Alternative Country, Americana feeling to it achieved with some great playing by master pedal-steel guitarist Sam Getz..

The rest of the band is also top notch, including bassplayer Steve Johnson, drummer Tom Cottone, trumpet player Antonio Gambrell and the backing vocalists. Alice Leon and Curtis King are both wonderful musicians, and the recording is crystal clear and mixed to perfection.

Eryn's love for the blues is best heard in the relaxed sounding blues track "Whiskey Devil", another one of my favorites, being a blues lover myself. "My Soul" is another one I can't get enough of and has some great slide by Pat Ruh.

We sincerely hope with the release of this album Eryn Shewell will get the attention and success she really deserves. Perhaps, things are starting in that direction already, we understand she just won the "Top Female Vocalist" award at the Asbury Music Awards this year. Let the rest follow!

Ron Bervoets, Rootstime