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Music Review: Paige Shannon – ’13’

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I can’t help but remember back to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when artists like Judy Collins, Laura Nyro, Carole King and especially Joni Mitchell brought a whole different look and set of songs to rock and pop music. Until that point in the ‘60s, female artists were of the Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) and Janis Joplin mode. They were about talent but they were also in your face. They were flash. Then came the singer-songwriters. They let their talent and their songs speak for them. They didn’t dress provocatively, they didn’t jump around the stage or molest the mic. Instead they sang a song from the heart and captured audiences through their art.

When it was suggested I give Paige Shannon’s  13 EP a listen, those marvelous singer-songwriters immediately came to mind. A time when substance won out over image. When songs were delivered with emotion. With heart and with soul. With an honesty that transcended miniskirts and whatever passes for glamour at the moment.

It was also a music that ignored fads and that’s what impressed me about Paige Shannon who, by the way, lists Joni Mitchell among her favorite musicians. She’s young but her appeal has nothing to do with fads. She also lists among her interests Martin guitars, Urban Outfitters, good poetry, and cats.

The EP is Paige’s first professional recording and it opens with an original, “Memory is the Enemy”. Right away you hear the range in her voice, musically and emotionally. She harnesses both to deliver a signature tune whose poetic verses speak to her depth and future as a songwriter. The other songs on the EP were penned by Paige as well. She also plays 12 and six-string guitar, a little uke, and in one or two places the banjo. Besides that expressive voice, she has a future as a musician. The album is all that is lovable about the singer-songwriter era, but it is also thoroughly modern. On YouTube you can find her doing covers of Nina Nesbitt’s “Noserings and Shoestrings”, so besides that Joni Mitchell influence, she also has more modern muses hiding in her MP3 player.

For a refreshing little bit of ear candy that has nothing to do with MTV glamour shots and a whole lot to do with a talented songstress delivering honest and appealing music, pick this one up. And you’ll want to bookmark her web site and watch the newspapers around L.A. where she lives and has already performed at the Hard Rock and other venues to enthusiastic crowds.

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About The Dirty Lowdown

I was born in Pomona, California at a very young age. I had a pretty normal childhood…or I was a pretty normal child hood if mom is telling the story. I was a paperboy and washed cars. I was a soda fountain jock-jerk and a manic mechanic but my first real job was as a labor organizer in a maternity ward. Then, because of the misjudgment of a judge I spent nearly 10 years in the service of our country mostly on KP duty. Our country sure turns out a lot of dirty dishes. I am a past master at pots and pans. They eventually recognized my real talent and let me wander around some very unfriendly places carrying a big radio that didn’t work. Along the way I took up the bass guitar, jotting down stories, electronic engineering and earned a degree in advanced criminal activities. I spent most of my adult life, if you can call it that, working in the I.T. industry, which I was particularly suited for since we worked in rooms with no windows. On and off I taught in colleges, universities and reform schools as a student teacher… I like smog, traffic, kinky people, car trouble, noisy neighbors, and crowded seedy bars where I have been known to quote Raymond Chandler as pickup lines. I have always been a voracious reader, everything from the classics, to popular fiction, history to science but I have a special place in my heart for crime fiction, especially hard-boiled detective fiction and noir. I write a book and music review blog for all genres at The Dirty Lowdown. And another dedicated to Crime Fiction and all things Noir called Crimeways. It’s named after the magazine that appeared in the Kenneth Fearing classic, The Big Clock. There I write scholarly reviews of the classic hard boiled, noir and crime fiction books from the 20's through today. Mostly I drool over the salacious pictures on the covers. I also write for Tecnorati/BlogCritics where i am part of a sinister cabal of superior writers.