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The May Street Project
The May Street Project
Image © 2001 RCA Records

(29 July 2001) Shea Seger is an artist whose songs resonate with rare passion and power. She has created her own engaging southern soul sound, one she describes as "mutt dog ... bluesy pop with beats." Her debut album, The May Street Project (RCA Records (USA) RADV 69382-2, 2000), according to BMG, "was recorded in London, yet pulsates with the languid rhythms of life and love in smalltown America. From the rueful opener "Last Time," to the evocative sweep of "Walk On Rainbows," to the gritty observation of "May Street," this is an astonishingly original debut." Shea has been compared favourably to Sheryl Crow, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Meredith Brooks and Bjork.

Shea was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up in Quitman, a tiny Texan town of 1200 people. In her sound, you'll hear a broad variety of musical influences, such as the raw emotion of Janis Joplin, the soulful sensuality of Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, and the quirkiness of Rickie Lee Jones. Her label writes, "there's the mind expansion of "daisy age" hip-hop acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Arrested Development. There are hints of all these sounds, plus a liberal smattering of Nashville strings on Shea's album."

The album was mixed by Commissioner Gordon (Lauryn Hill), and stand-out tracks include the catchy first song "Last Time," the bluesy fantasy "Isn't It Good," and the atmospheric "I Love You Too Much." While all songs won't appeal to Musical Discoveries' most frenquent visitors, the track "Clutch" certainly will. It is a collaboration with Shea's best friend and instantly leaps out of the eclectic body of work. There's also "Always," a melodic duet with singer songwriter Ron Sexsmith, and most poignant of all is the title track, "May Street," a chilling trippy account of life in Shea's hometown that was written and recorded live in one take.

As for the making of the album, Shea couldn't have asked for a more supportive environment. "We had a great time doing it," she recalls. "You want to find people who can tap into what you're doing to balance things out, and, most importantly, be real. That's what I had." Shea's latest space odyssey is about to begin. Whether she' plays for 100,000 or 100, for Shea Seger the point is always about touching her listeners one at a time. "My songs are simply honest stories," she says. "And I just tell them the way I see them."

While some of the rap-style tracks did nothing for us, this otherwise compelling album is an excellent introduction to this young recording artist. The May Street Project stands as a confessional, soulful debut, heralding the arrival of an uncommonly gifted singer songwriter. Read further interviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Explore this one further—it is a nice listen!

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