Shannon Stephens Shannon Stephens

Shannon Stephens Shannon Stephens
Those who discovered this Seattle, WA-based songstress with her '09 album, The Breadwinner, will be eager to hear this reissue of her debut recording, shelved since its completion in 1999, when Stephens set aside music in order to raise her newborn daughter. The ten-year interval hasn't damaged the mystique of Shannon Stephens whatsoever. Laid down not long after she left the Sufjan Stevens-led folk collective Marzuki, the album (which Sufjan mixed and mastered) is a slow-burning folk rock gem, with Stephens' ethereal songs and performances strongly recalling the vintage work of Joni Mitchell and Fairport Convention. Fans of Bonnie "Prince" Billy will also want to hear Stephens' original version of "I'll Be Glad," a song BPB covered on Lie Down In The Light. Its back porch, banjo-accentuated arrangement adds a touch of Appalachian authenticity, as well as a lightness that counterbalances the darker moods of some of the other songs. In that sense, what Shannon Stephens proves is that she was a well-rounded songwriter from the start. This album remains as relevant today as it would have been had it been released a decade ago. (Asthmatic Kitty)