There are songs and musicians that can take the different genres of music and blend them together into something that resembles a part of each, and yet is completely unique. Shannon McNally, with her full-length debut album Jukebox Sparrows, does just this. The newest in a line of female genre-blending artists like Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt, McNally’s songs are country with a soulful rock attitude.
Or maybe it’s rock with a soulful country attitude.
Either way, this album presents a spread of 11 great tracks, all featuring McNally’s deep Fiona Apple-esque voice and Eddi Reader-like lyrical sensibility. Despite the fact that “McNally” reminds one of “Nelly” – as in Furtado – and thus brings up frightening images of over-played, saccharine swill (which makes me want to fly away), this lineup of songs is far from the plastic mass-production line of popular music. This may mean that the songs aren’t simple enough to get as much airplay (thank you, mainstream media); it does mean that the music is asking the audience to listen to more than just the melody.
All in all, Shannon McNally’s Jukebox Sparrows just might be worth a buy, or at least a good, intense listen. And it might help to get those other birds out of your head.