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Boomkat Product Review:
Recorded at home on her farm in Kentucky alongside her partner Nathan Salsburg, Joan Shelley's latest album is a pristine set of filigree country-folk, with contributions from Meg Baird, Bill Callahan and others.
By the time the lockdown hit, Shelley had already grown tired of constant touring, and constant upset. She'd been working solidly since the release of her 2010 debut "By Dawnlight", recording and touring both solo and with her Maiden Radio trio, and the pace had begun to wear her down. So Shelley retreated to her farm with her guitarist husband Salsburg and the two raised goats and chickens, and had their first child. This time of relative peace is the inspiration for "The Spur", an album that addresses Shelley's new world and muses on her new creative landscape.
It's a personal album that's sparked by small touches and a generous heart; the album's title track (and lead single) is a clear highlight, anchored by a strong vocal performance from Shelley and an impressive turn from Salsburg. But the guest appearances provide equally enthralling entertainment: Bill Callahan makes a welcome vocal contribution on the horizontal 'Amberlit Morning', while Meg Baird turns up for an assist on opening track 'Forever Blues' and short folksy piano jam 'Between Rock and Sky'. Nothing feels forced, everything is natural and it's a pleasure to engage with.