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Shenandoah And The Night | EP

Album review by John Powell

Shenandoah and the Night  | EP

If EPs are to full-length albums as wine tastings are to a bottle, then Shenandoah and the Night deliver a tasty sip of sweet and tart white that you wish you had enough to get drunk off of. This isn’t to say that I know much about wine, but I do know class when I hear it.

Over the course of five songs, Shenandoah and the Night swirl in jazz, folk, blues, and this contemporary alt. folk we’re yet to properly name. Shenandoah’s voice is unique, with a strained warble, a wide range; something like Eddie Vedder’s soul singing, soprano, Brooklyn-based younger sister.

“So fine” is sultry, featuring Miles Mullin’s upright bass and Seth Johnson’s stripped down guitar play. With the intent on minimalism, Shenandoah Ableman sings over a tight groove. “You’re fine fine fine,” she sings. “You’re mine mine mine,” as Sean Hutchinson comes in with a solid kick keeping time and sprinkled toms, building until it blooms.

But whether it’s the traditional, “Dink’s Song”, with a 50’s doo-wop piano rhythm, ooh’ing backing vocals, and the lines, “Early one morning/tears, they rained,” or “These Arms”, a slow-paced tear-jerker fueled by Kwame Brandt-Pierce’s organ, Shenandoah and the Night utilize the sort of classic templates that have made groups like She & Him so successful. It’s a nod to simpler times.

The key track, and the one that gives Shenandoah and the Night a foundation to build their sound on, is “All the Beautiful Ladies”. The way Shenandoah can sing one word with so much history and heart, such as “Louisiana,” turns a phrase into a memory. With well-cued horns, this song has a groove that’s impossible to beat.

For an EP, this one says a lot. Any of its songs deserve to be on a mix for a dinner party, or, hell, a wine tasting. Shenandoah mentions Tennessee, Arizona, and also looks inward to the heart and its intricacies. She’s got style, and The Night complement her like stars around a moon.


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