Shivaree singer-songwriter Ambrosia Parsley has surely grown tired of waiting for her close-up. Her smoky eyes and sultry tones first whispered through the pines in 1999, but Americans didn’t really get her (and her band’s) blend of cabaret slither and burnt-sienna Americana, and Shivaree was left to struggle. Skip forward to 2002 and the multilateral, expensive-coffee success of Norah Jones. Suddenly there was interest in smart, sweet and lyrical musical hybrid-ism, which is what Parsley (not to mention Eleni Mandell and Aimee Mann) were doing all along, but, whatever. Who’s Got Trouble? is your chance to drink Shivaree in. Eleven songs — not just a single —integrate modernized California pop-rock (“I Close My Eyes,” “Mexican Boyfriend”) and vocal jazz (“Lost in a Dream”), re-imagined Tin Pan Alley shuffle and the 2 a.m. shadows of Tom Waits for a tasteful set of American music circa now, and it feels like home. Sure, the backgrounds might be a little too clean sometimes — the strings on “2 Far” sway a little too perfectly — and opener “New Casablanca” doesn’t make enough of an impression. But Shivaree always makes Trouble bleed with feeling, and it all starts with Parsley’s dusky caress. This time around, don’t shut her out.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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