Music review: New album showcases Jenny Shawhan's commanding alto

  • "Don't Be Afraid" by Jenny Shawhan.

    "Don't Be Afraid" by Jenny Shawhan. Courtesy of 24 Angels/Coastal Bend Music

 
 
Posted7/26/2021 6:00 AM

Jenny Shawhan, "Don't Be Afraid" (24 Angels/Coastal Bend Music )

Jenny Shawhan has a big voice and knows how to use it. "Let me soar," she sings on her new album as she does just that.

 

"Don't Be Afraid" showcases the Denver-based Shawhan's alto, a commanding, captivating instrument that conveys both strength and vulnerability, and can put on the twang.

She wrote or co-wrote all 10 tunes, and the theme is where need begins and ends. Several songs serve as a declaration of independence, including "I Do It for Me," a tale of liberation and occasional libation.

"Don't You Tell Me What to Do" is a chip-kicker Shawhan sings with her fist, and the power ballad "You Can't Hurt Me Now" peaks with a dandy kiss-off line: "You never even knew me, and you really missed out." Best of all is Shawhan's sassy rendering of "Daddy's Got a Briefcase," a business story.

John Macy produced, and there's variety to arrangements elevated by his pedal steel, as well as horns, piano and bluesy organ. Above it all, Shawhan flies high.

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