Shanna in a Dress – Robot
At first look, this appears to be a comedy album. The “group” name Shanna in a Dress isn’t exactly a hint as to what’s really to be expected. Novelty-oriented or perhaps satire & sarcasm. Yet, Shanna in a Dress has a lovely voice. Her showcase, while being somewhat quirky is indeed displayed in a sweet, clever & attractive manner.
Living in Nashville & coming from the Rocky Mountains, Shanna in a Dress (keyboards/acoustic guitar/vocals) has some tunes with that 60s girl-group commercial energy (“Robot”), Indigo Girls harmonic (“Playing With Fire”) & then serious as “Daddy’s Little Girl.” A wonderfully touching lyric & melody. This young artist isn’t silly at all.
What Shanna does through her 9-songs is allow listeners to realize they’re walking through their lives on fate’s autopilot, unconsciously. Time goes by & when they look back — they realize they’ve not been living to fulfillment. Perhaps it’s autobiographical?
One needs to make money, so we work, we’re essentially selling our time to another for a wage to feed ourselves & our family. If we didn’t need money to live in the mountains we’d have to survive by spending “time” gathering food & building & maintaining a shelter. So, we’re really not in control of our destiny. Our livelihood maybe, but not our destiny.
“Everything & Nothing,” is quite a good pop melody. The 33-minute CD Robot (Drops May 27–Independent) was produced & recorded by Megan Burtt in Oregon. Plenty of old-fashioned 50s guitar, saloon Dixieland piano, with borderline country vocals. Shanna in a Dress is more of a polished verbal comedian/pop-chanteuse & that can certainly work well through her delivery.
“Robot,” doesn’t shine a light on the quality of the other tunes. While this tune is good it’s more commercial than the majority. On the cover, Shanna wears a pixelated colorful young girl’s party dress & this doesn’t give a hint of the seriousness of some of the songs. Her cute attractive smile is playful & devious but that as well doesn’t suggest the kind of music within.
So, while the cover art is playful, funny & lighthearted it in no way reflects the excellence of the music. My only issue…the cover art. Everything else is surprisingly precise with a mix of sophisticated songs. Each possesses its own potent virtuosity & individuality. In a word, it’s an entertaining showcase.
Shanna in a Dress’ future? She’d be an excellent Broadway performer. If not, she should focus on gold nuggets like “Have a Great Day.” A gentle accordion-driven ballad sung with luxuriance in an Indigo Girls/Roches manner. While other songs are commercial, mainstream this is an expressive beauty.
Is Shanna weird & quirky? Yeah, she’s a wackadoodle. But she’s a charming one & I like her.
Color image courtesy of Shanna’s website. CD available @ https://www.shannainadress.com/ + Bandcamp. Americana Highways Song Premiere – https://americanahighways.org/2022/05/02/song-premiere-shanna-in-a-dress-mmm-thats-hot/