Michelle Shocked

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Michelle Shocked

Deep Natural With Dub Natural (Mighty Sound) Michelle Shocked has been playing by her own rules since the start. When she wasn't squabbling with record labels, she was touring with a wide variety of players and releasing albums that she only was allowed to sell from the stage. Now, she appears with her own record label, Mighty Sound, after winning all the label wars with a 2-CD set that's equally mystifying and satisfying. Deep Natural is filled with an impressive range of styles from gospel to reggae to folk pop to loud rock, and is an intriguing listen that flows almost in spite of itself. Shocked has composed some truly memorable tunes in the style she's referring to as "New Dub Blues & Gospel Birdsong." "I Know What You Need" possesses a dreamy, shimmering beauty, "That's So Amazing" is a funky little New Orleans style number, surely influenced by the Crescent City that she now calls home, and "Psalm" is a rocking gospel tune that finds Shocked wailing her spirituality to maximum effect. On the other hand, Dub Natural is a mostly instrumental, some might say "ambient," collection of the songs on Deep Natural in a different order. Some of it is indeed dub, with echoing horns and vocals, and deep basslines. Elsewhere, it sounds like a soundtrack for a Quentin Tarantino movie, with Southwestern soundscapes alternating with gritty organ-based blues. Shocked has promised deluxe re-releases of her entire catalog, along with some very select reissues and a small roster of other artists on Mighty Sound, and it will be interesting to see what she comes up with next. (Michelle Shocked headlines the Old Settler's Music Festival Friday, April 19.)

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