Shelby James and the Crying Shames

Cadillac Valentine
(self-released)

Shelby James and the Crying Shames' Cadillac Valentine is an often sprightly blend of '90s rock, country, blues, driving bass and drums, and '60s-esque guitar and vocal riffs. Drawing on influences far and wide, the lyrics quote songs by everyone from Pink Floyd to Oasis, and the melodies are reminiscent of bands including Bush and the Rolling Stones, yet the album still feels homey. Much of this can be attributed to the narrative style in which the songs are constructed. James has a way of storytelling that lets the audience invest in the music and rock out at the same time. The result is a set of songs to which the listener feels connected, and consequently connected to the singer. While this quality is often characteristic of folk music, James takes this concept and updates it in a way he undoubtedly drew from local legends like Dead Hot Workshop. Standout tracks include the opener, "All Down the Line," and "Separate the Sinner."

 
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