Shelley King

Building a Fire (Lemonade Records)

Texas Platters

Shelley King

Building a Fire (Lemonade Records)

"Back in the woods, down in Tennessee." Those words serve as introduction to the opening title track, but based on Shelley King's seventh LP, it's hard to believe the local songstress has been anywhere out of state lines lately. Tracing Texas from its swampy eastern border to the cowboy country balladry found in any dance hall with a well-worn pool table, Building a Fire assembles an audio dictionary of Texan roots music. King's powerful, twanged alto takes care of the rest. The kickoff cut blends Louisiana zydeco with blues sensibility, the singer's no-holds-barred vocal mastery front and center. King takes on classic spiritual "I Know I've Been Changed," her delivery fueled by sexuality and filling in spaces usually reserved for a choir. Playing both upbeat blues ("The Things You Do") and slow, sultry dirges ("The Real Thing"), the album even veers slightly macabre on "When I Go Away," written by Larry Campbell, band director for former King conspirator Levon Helm. The lady of the house can wring tears for your beer, too, on "1940's Eyes" and "Talkin' Bout the Weather," slow folk country as dance-floor nostalgic as a waltz. With Building a Fire, Shelley King's set a buffet of Texas roots. Pick a dish, any dish. They're all house specialties.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Shelley King
Texas Platters
Shelley King
Welcome Home (Record Review)

Margaret Moser, Nov. 27, 2009

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Christy Hays
River Swimmer (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, May 25, 2018

Texas Platters
Okkervil River
In the Rainbow Rain (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, May 25, 2018

More by Abby Johnston
All Eyes on St. Vincent
All Eyes on St. Vincent
PBS concert staple becomes Masseducation platform

May 15, 2018

Kelly Willis Record Review
Kelly Willis Record Review
Back Being Blue (Thirty Tigers)

May 11, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Shelley King

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle