You’ll find quality tracks all through this encore recording from Shannon and Heather Slaughter. If you heard their debut and their two solo efforts, that should come as no surprise. That doesn’t mean all 14 tracks are equally impressive. It does mean that each song has a high quality in its presentation and musicianship, even if some of them follow predictable grooves, either in theme or form.
Those distinct songs number no less than six. The most recognizable is from Hank Williams, Jr. “Feelin’ Better” is perhaps not his best-known tune or even his best, but it does ooze attitude, a quality that Shannon’s well-phrased baritone captures dead on. The instrumental backing is right there as well. Acoustic instruments not withstanding, they get the force of the original across. Better still are two country-type numbers both sung by Heather. “Back To Birmingham,” which she helped write, finds her reconnecting with herself by returning both mentally and physically to her hometown. The emotion she brings to it is highly engrossing. So too is the steel-driven, pure country of Terry Foust’s and Shannon’s “Whiskey Colored Dreams.”
And it gets better still, starting with the opener “Moonshiner.” If a traditional tune is going to run up the charts, it wouldn’t be surprising if this was it. The instrumental pop and drive is glorious, and Heather weaves in so effortlessly it belies the power in her delivery. That’s followed by Tim Stafford’s and Pam Tillis’ remembrance of Harley Allen, “Never Just A Song.” No punches are pulled in the writing, nor any in Shannon’s vocals. It’s just a great tribute all around. Then, buried deep in the tracking, comes “There Ain’t No Need To Be Lonely.” Written in bluesy, medium 3/4 by Bill Castle and Shannon, try to believe this wasn’t a lost traditional classic. Enjoy. (www.shannonandheatherslaughter.com)BW