Megan and Shane

REVIEW: Megan and Shane “Peaks and Valleys”


Megan and Shane – Peaks and Valleys

This effort starts pensive & folky but then by “Rose Colored Glasses,” Megan Baskerville’s pipes really start to percolate. The song is superb & her vocals are like Benedictine & Brandy. The duo of Megan and Shane Baskerville is a bit country-based in a Gram Parsons-Emmylou Harris style.

“Coast of California,” rollicks with wonderful work by the duo & though Megan’s vocal can be overwhelming Shane’s pleasant deeper backup often contributes well to Megan’s masterful voice, somewhat in a Patti Scialfa tone.

Recorded in East Nashville the 10-originals on Peaks and Valleys (Drops July 14–Hound of the Baskervilles Publishing) were produced by Grammy-winner Brandon Bell.

“Lasso,” starts with a hokey narrative by Shane (vocals/acoustic & rhythm guitar/keys) but once Megan (harmonica) starts to sing her deep vocalese takes firm command on an otherwise fine song. It can be forgiven that some songs will tend to have that old-fashioned corny ingredient that some country fans still like. I’m not a fan. Especially when the song itself is good.


On “Blue On Blue,” Shane comes in with a strong Steve Earle-type vocal, but the approach is a little Hee-Haw country. When Megan sings with Shane the song coagulates nicely. They do sound great together. Despite the old-timey tint, it’s Buck Owens upbeat & it’s rich. That’s a plus. This is Shane’s best vocal. Enthusiasm is high but the song needs not to be mutton – it needs to be a T-bone steak.

Their vocals are always determined & definitive. I liked their singing when they’re together or when Megan takes the lead. But the song lyrics generally are a shot of whiskey lost in a tall glass of orange juice. The tales need to be stronger. “Diamond In the Rough,” is a good effort but the title is a cliché. It’s also a famous John Prine album & song. The duo’s vocalizing in unison remains excellent.

“Oh Oh Oh,” & “Four Strings In Pain” are determinedly individualistic. The vocals are where the duo needs to be, always. These are strong & commercially perfect. “Mama Raised Hell,” is the conclusion & it features Megan at her full-bluesy propelled smoking best. Impressive. Very impressive.

Highlights – “Rose Colored Glasses,” “Coast of California,” “Diamond In the Rough,” “Oh Oh Oh,” “Four Strings In Pain” & “Mama Raised Hell.”

Musicians – Chris Powell (drums/percussion), Brian Allen (bass/cello/harmonium/keys/baritone guitar), Tim Galloway (electric guitar/banjo/mandolin/baritone guitar), Lillie Mae (fiddle/bgv) & Brit Taylor (bgv).

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