Shannon McNally

Like Lucinda Williams, to whom she's frequently compared, Shannon McNally packs a wallop of a vocal — a tough, tenacious delivery that's equally adept at conveying both pain and poignancy. McNally's latest album — a live showcase for a signature style she's dubbed "North American Ghost Music" — emphasizes a sinewy, sensuous approach that veers from haunting intimacy to beguiling seduction. McNally's music shares a similar stance with that of Chris Isaak or Sheryl Crow, elusive at times but anchored with a solid instrumental undercarriage that effectively channels the music's languid drift. Her ravaged, world-weary cover of "The Last Lonely Eagle" bears a plaintive, hollow-eyed appeal only hinted at in the New Riders of the Purple Sage's ageless original. Likewise the slow, sprawling take on Willie Nelson's "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" suggests a meditative stance that could have added implications, given the heights of Brokeback Mountain mania. McNally's originals are no less compelling, particularly the more rhythmically robust "Down and Dirty," given a come-on many might find all but irresistible: "I love you when you're down and dirty."

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lee Zimmerman