Shelley Short

Captain Wild Horse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow)

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Oregon-based alt-country chanteuse Shelley Short has the kind of girlish, breathy voice more often associated with the twee pop scene, but she uses it well, and in the slightly unexpected context of mandolins, fiddles, and banjos, she at times almost sounds like the young Dolly Parton. This is the noirish end of country music, with songs like "Sweet Heart Said" and "All Eyes on the Skyline" recalling the Elizabethan murder ballads that are one of the wellsprings of traditional country. Elsewhere, Short gets experimental: on "Lupine Manner," she mimics the sound of either thunder or falling bombs by blowing directly into the microphone, and the sea shanty-like "Roaring Roars" recalls the nautical side of her former labelmates the Decemberists. An occasionally odd but quite impressive debut, Captain Wild Horse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow) should appeal to fans of Laura Cantrell and Lisa Germano about equally.

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