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©2011 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd


The sophomore release from this 2008 TMA nominated duo is nothing short of amazing.  The opening cut features Annie Acton’s stellar vocals in a tune rivaling releases by Mary Chapin Carpenter from the early 90’s.  The second track is no less outstanding as Acton turns on the Latin charm in “Esa Noche.”  The title track is next, setting the tone for the album, and featuring flawless harmonies from the other half of this phenomenal duo, Shan Kowert.  John Inmon makes his presence known in a big way on this cut with a dazzling musical performance.  Inmon produces the album and is responsible for most of the instrumentation, performing multiple instruments.  Acton blazes on through “Lipstick Warrior” and “Within Your Heart,” turning in great performances on both.  Kowert emerges as lead vocalist on “Could It Be,” a comfortable shuffle that could easily fill a country dance floor.  “Missing You” is a pretty lost-love lament that features more of Acton’s ethereal vocal work.  Acton and Kowert turn in a clever piece of songwriting on “One Tank,” reducing the value of love to a tank of gas.  Especially with so much required financially to obtain such, when one decides to get one tank further away, the prospect of turning back and reconciling becomes exponentially less likely.  A nice concept for a song, and I’m sorry I didn’t think of it first.  I listened to the next song three times and even though “Care” is a great tune and Acton’s performance is top-notch, I have to say, I didn’t really get it at first.  I kept trying to make a connection in the lyrics that made sense to me.  At the end of the song, the line “I just care for you” brought it all into focus.  My take on the song is that there are so many things to care about out there, and she sees them alright, but passes them off as just mundane instances in life that carry no significant meaning for her.  She doesn’t want to seem uncaring about the world’s troubles, but they pale in comparison with the level of care she has for him.  Then, it made perfect sense.  Ah, a love song.  These two have a habit of doing love songs.  Hmmm.  No surprise there.  That they do so many of them so well is the foundation of the art of ShAnnie.  “Winds of Change” turns in another mesmerizing performance from Inmon and is the second Shan Kowert vocal feature.  I know Shan and how he loves to showcase Annie’s voice, but he would owe no apologies for featuring himself on more cuts.  “Driftin’ Lost Cowboy” is the first of two bonus tracks, a western swing shuffle that doubles as a tribute to Hank Williams.  It wouldn’t be a stretch to offer it up as the most mainstream track of the album, and perhaps the most commercially viable.  Fellow MTM member, John M. Greenberg also appears on the album, producing and performing on the wrap-up cut, “The Weatherman.”  The project, a twelve-track gem, is just the next chapter of an exceptional career for ShAnnie.  Folky at times, country at times, but comfortable the whole way, with tons of listener appeal.  This is one of those discs you put in your player when you’re having guests over and everything has to be perfect. 

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