Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 26, 2005
Geronimo (Back Porch)
On her 2002 debut, Jukebox Sparrows, Shannon McNally managed definite potential despite being buried under an adult rock sheen that hacked the edges off her music. There's an "adultness" built into her second attempt, Geronimo, McNally sensual, swaggering, smokey. It's a huge stylistic move forward, one that emphasizes her fondness for American roots music in all its various forms, while exhibiting an ability to depict pleasure and pain with an explicitness that seems deceptively natural for such a reasonably young songwriter. McNally is originally from Long Island, but she's now a resident of New Orleans, which fosters her to fill Geronimo with a healthy dose of lowdown country and ragged soul. Combined with the fact that Austin's Charlie Sexton produced the disc and brought along some high profile friends including Ian McLagan, Tony Garnier from Bob Dylan's band, and string wizard Greg Leisz, who's worked with everyone from Dave Alvin to Anne Murray, and McNally's sound bears a timelessness that's truly uncommon. Some might compare her to disparate artists like Sue Foley, Michelle Shocked, Shelby Lynn, and Cheryl Crow, but on Geronimo, McNally projects tenderness and toughness in ways that are remarkable and unequaled.