This is the first solo record by Shea Roberts. He’s played in numerous bands in San Francisco, probably most known for fronting a garage rock band “The Richmond Sluts”. This record takes you in a whole different direction, it has an Americana country vibe ranging from Lee Hazelwood to Neil Young. With this record, you hear Shea come out of the shadows with a whole new style of songs and heartfelt stories.
Mellow, chilled out, laid back, Americana, Country Honk. You can take any of these and put it in front of Shea Roberts when describing what his solo record sounds like. It hasn’t got the Rock n ROll attack or attitude of The Richmond Sluts but then this is a solo record and if he wanted to play that I guess he’d use the Sluts as that vehicle. This is a whole new side and he takes full advantage of his address book to lay down the tracks here as he invites about a dozen players to help record these tunes. Granted Shea himself takes most of the instruments as well. Tunes like ‘Old John’ have chiming lap steel and some thigh slapping cotton picking country coursing through its veins front and centre.
He’s certainly exploring his Neil YOung side and does a pretty good job too. his voice sounds warm and welcoming and he carries that heartbreak tone really well on songs like ‘Don’t Know Anymore’ there is a Nick Cave quality as the stories unfold and the arrangments are quite exquisite.
There’s quite a chunk that reminds me of prime Green On Red as well on songs like ‘Bottled Up’. but he saves his best writing for the simple ‘Keep You Alright’ with the acoustic strum he keeps it simple and the songs strong. The mood is very engaging and the home straight of this record is where the real gold nuggets hide even if it doesn’t take too much diggin’ to pull em out. there is a Neil Young quality to ‘Where My Heart Is’ and to close it off there is the John Prine cover of ‘Look Out Floor’ yee-haw! you go cowboy.