Between the River & the Road
If you like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams or Eliza Gilkyson, you are going to love Britta Lee Shain. A novelist/screenwriter turned songwriter, Shain delivers her first solo CD with a mesmerizing intensity that combines edgy lyrics and thought-provoking themes with a unique vocal style. (She is often described as "a female Tom Waits.") In short, this is one powerhouse of an album! Produced by the world-class multi-instrumentalist, Freddy Koella (who has worked with Bob Dylan and K.D. Lange), "Between the River and the Road" features the incomparable artistry of Koella on dobro, violin, and banjo. All tracks are played by Koella and Shain (on guitar). And their instrumentation - sparse and haunting - perfectly complements the lyrics, creating a dark, mysterious landscape that is filled with intrigue and dramatic tension. In fact, the production itself maximizes this sparseness, creating an almost physical depth to the music. Listening to it, I was reminded of looking at the nighttime sky in the desert. Each note is as clear and bright as a star. But it is the space between those notes that allows each one to shine. All eleven tracks are original, and there isn't a dud among them. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to choose a favorite. From the seductive opening track, "Lay Your Body Down," to the stormy passions of "Pacific Coast Highway," to the heart-breaking politics of "Mercy Town" and "America the Beautiful," "Between The River And The Road" is always profound but never heavy-handed or trite. In fact, sometimes the themes are more like whispers in your subconscious, laced with layers of mystery and innuendo, creating the same feelings of intrigue that you get when you watch a good movie. What comes across in all, however, is the feeling of a bold honesty. A no-holds-barred honesty...with no sugar-coating. It takes guts to write songs like these, and Britta Lee Shain has what it takes. "Between The River and the Road" might not appeal to everyone, and it's not trying to. But for those who like a little danger in their listening pleasure, it is a stunning achievement. --The Latest Spin, July issue of the The BardChord Britta Lee Shain sings with grit and passion, some of the colors you don't get as often as you want to from the palette of singer/songwriters. I like the way she takes on the discovery of where a relationship is heading by the road it travels, literally or metaphorically. Ride with her, you'll enjoy the trip!' --Sonnie Brown, Host of SongTown on Public Radio KCBX 'A female Tom Waits' --Linda Kordek, The Agency Group America The Beautiful 'One of the best songs I've heard all year!' --Russell Paris, Host, Russ & Julie's House Concerts I've had lunch with Neil Simon, dinner with Yoko Ono (okay, so there were about twelve of us). I once celebrated Easter Sunday at Timothy Leary's where I sat next to him chatting, unknowingly eating salad dressing that had been laced with LSD. I met Bob Dylan in the mid-eighties and in the fall of 1987 joined his entourage on a two-month European Tour with Tom Petty which included a pre-tour trip to Egypt. I should write a book. I have. I intend to publish it later this year, or never. --Britta Lee Shain.