Americana singer-songwriter Shelly Waters is set to release her new, self-titled album on July 28, 2017. Evidence of Waters’ jambalaya-like recipe of sonic spices – and then some – are found within each of the dozen tasty tracks on Shelly Waters, which was recorded in Nashville with renowned producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaler.



Making good music makes good people

I believe I’ve met dozens, at least 50, professional musicians in my life. And every time I meet another one, I’m amazed (not Donald-Trump-amazed, but really and truly amazed) at how affable and conversationally accommodating he or she is.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s the case with most other artists. The painter Jasper Johns was actually kind and good-humored when I met him a very long time ago, but you hear so often about painters being so into themselves and their long-suffering struggle to gain public appreciation for their genius and self-expression that you have to figure most of them must be like that.
Writers, I don’t know about them. I know only a few writers, none of them famous. I hope famous writers are mostly nice people. I think if I met a famous writer I admired and he or she turned out to be smug or condescending, I’d never read another word of theirs, no matter how brilliant they were.
I haven’t met any professional actors either, but I’m sure most of them, being actors after all, can at least make you think they’re nice people. Which is OK with me. I doubt if I’ll ever meet a famous actor anyway. I bet Tom Hanks is a really good guy though.
But musicians are the best. I first began to meet well known musicians way back in my early 40s when I was a widower living in Charleston. I was suffering pretty badly in those days and the blues were speaking to my wounded soul. There was a bar downtown, Cumberlands, that regularly featured blues acts, solos and groups, and I was a regular. Now there’s something about bluesmen on stage that can make them look right forbidding. There they are in some serious stage attire and they’re sweating and frowning, sometimes grimacing and rolling their eyes up in their heads when they’re bending the heck out of a note and if you didn’t know better, you’d think, “This guy is messed up. I’d better just stay out of his way and listen”
The first one I met during a break at Cumberlands was Charlie Musselwhite, the great harmonica player. My son was with me that evening and it was his 16th birthday. (The proprietor allowed my underage son in the place on my promise that he wouldn’t touch a drop of beer.) My son loved to listen to recordings of “Little Walter” Jacobs, the harp player who is still probably the greatest influence on all blues harmonica players since his time. During the break we went up to Charlie Musselwhite — Cumberlands was a tight venue — and I introduced the great musician to my son, whose name is also Charlie, telling him that the show was a birthday treat. Right away son Charlie asked Musselwhite if he had known Little Walter. And he answered, “Sure did. Knew him well. We played together and he taught me a lot.” I still appreciate Charlie Musselwhite for taking the time to talk with my son, even keeping a kind smile on his face when it was clear that son Charlie was more interested in the dead Little Walter than the living, breathing legend right in front of him.
During those years in Charleston, I got to know Gary Erwin, nowadays known as Shrimp City Slim, who was a performer, record shop owner and founder/manager of Charleston’s Lowcountry Blues Bash. Gary let me work the gate at several venues during the Bash for a couple of years and I met performers from all over the country. I never met one who was brusque or seemed too hassled to chat for a moment — even the famous Kim Wilson, frontman and harmonica player for The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s still holding true. If you’ve read this column for a few years, you’ll recall that I’ve written lots about Joe Taylor of Bennetts Point. The Columbia native moved down to the Point (by way of New York) with his lovely wife Stacey some years ago and they have become a crucial part of that community. He’s one of those genuinely nice musicians who, I’m not a bit surprised, is married to a gem of a woman. In addition to performing all over the place, Joe is a producer and has a first-class recording studio behind his house. His production enterprise is Moonwatcher Music. You ought to do yourself a favor and visit on line. Grammy-nominated Joe is so well connected in the music industry that he brings really large talent to his gigs and to Bennetts Point. He’s even kind enough to talk a lot of those folks into playing for our Bennetts Point St. Patrick’s Day event, which happened again just last Saturday.
Because I’ve been the MC for the past I-don’t-know-how-many times, I’ve gotten to meet the folks Joe brings to us. Not one has been anything less than a joy to talk to. Some of it has to be on account of Joe himself. I can’t imagine him putting up with a jerk for long. But I know that it also has to do with the nature of the musicians themselves. I think there’s something about creating music for people and connecting with them that way that’s just good for your soul.
At center stage Saturday was the wonderful singer/songwriter Shelly Waters, a singer with a voice I could listen to for a whole day and night and want to hear more after a nap. She’s just put out a CD on the Moonwatcher label, “Drive,” having written all 10 tracks herself. Shelly is as nice as she looks, and that’s saying a lot because she’s a beauty.
Bass player Woody Lingle acts like he’s from right around here somewhere, like, say, over in Orangeburg County. That’s because he is from Orangeburg County, but has played bass guitar for Emmylou Harris, Steve Wariner, Ricky Van Shelton, Chet Atkins — even Liberace. Want to to know what his regular gig is? Playing for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, who I figured had all gone to the Lord by now, but are still kicking aboard 1960s-Flower-Power-themed cruises.
The drummer Josh Birmingham came from Macon, Georgia and to me, being a professional musician from Macon is like being a writer from Ames, Iowa. Josh and Woody are simply good people who happen to be very good makers of music. And did those four ever make some music on that stage Saturday.
Joe, I thank you, Bennetts Point thanks you, and I hope a lot more Colleton County folk get to see and listen to you and the people you bring in. I know they’ll thank you too.
So the day of reckoning is upon us. The crisis stage hasn’t arrived, but it surely will. It is in the aftermath that we Americans are going to have to look hard at ourselves and decide whether we will begin to champion decency — the kind of decency I described at the beginning — both in ourselves and in those we choose to represent us. – Charles Rowland (The Colletonian)



Bennetts Point St. Paddy’s Parade Keeps Rolling

They don’t make as much noise about it as they once did, but residents and visitors at Bennetts Point had as much fun as ever at the annual St. Patrick’s day parade and celebration held on Saturday.

Several hundred people showed up for the parade of siren-blaring fire trucks and decorated boats and golf carts, all filled with green-clad children tossing candy, followed by a big meal and great music beside the waters of Mosquito Creek.
Leading off the parade as grand marshal was longtime resident William “Bootsie” Brown. He and his wife Virgie were chauffeured by Jerry Baldwin in Baldwin’s Thunderbird convertible.
After the parade, people of all ages, from 2 to 92, enjoyed barbecued chicken, catfish stew, chicken perlow and other dishes in front of the bandstand. Every year, proceeds from auctions and donations go to the local fire department and to a fund for community needs.
Bennetts Point’s own guitarist and record producer, Emmy-nominated Joe Taylor, rounded up three extraordinarily talented musicians to take the stage with him and they kept the crowd entertained for hours. With her big-time voice, Louisiana-born singer-songwriter-guitarist Shelly Waters presented an amazing range of Southern rock, country and soulful sounds, accompanied by Taylor on guitar, Woody Lingle on bass and Josh Birmingham on drums.
And there was just enough breeze coming up the creek to keep the sand gnats down to only a few dozen bites per person. – Charles Rowland (The Colletonian)



‘Drive’ evident at Waters’ Rayne concert

Rayne’s former Shelly Pellerin returns home for CD release party

By Steve Bandy, LSN Staff Writer
RAYNE – It had been a long time since Shelly Pellerin performed here – about 25 years.  Her “homecoming” concert – now as Shelly Waters – Saturday night at the American Legion Home was filled with emotion.   “It was great, but at the same time, hard to explain,” Waters said during a breakfast interview the following morning before she and her band left for home. “I didn’t know how I would be received,” she explained.

As Shelly Pellerin, Waters was well-known throughout the area, constantly taking the stage during festivals and even fronting her own band after graduating from Rayne High School in 1986.  Then she graduated from USL (now University of Louisiana – Lafayette) in 1990, married and moved to Baton Rouge.  “I stepped away from music then,” she said. “My guitar spent 10 years in the closet.”  But that longing was still there and when she decided to act on it, she did.  “I packed up my guitar and moved to Houston,” she said. “I performed with a band and as part of a duo.”  It was in Houston that she met Dave Waters, who would become her second husband and sometimes share the stage with her. “He had a full drum set when we met,” Shelly explained.

Nine years ago, when Dave Waters’ medical practice took him to Charleston, South Carolina, they moved there. And Shelly kept performing – with a band, in a duo (still occasionally with Husband Dave) and as a solo act. “It really wasn’t until a couple of years ago that it hit me,” she said. “I was on stage, I think during a ‘band gig’ and this feeling just came over me. This is what I want to do. This is what I was meant to do.”  Shortly thereafter she put out her first CD, a collection of swamp pop songs.  “But that really wasn’t me,” Waters said.  Saturday night’s concert in Rayne doubled as the local “release party” for her new CD, “Drive,” a collection of self-written songs.

“I wrote all of the songs on this record, with a co-writer on one, so all of the music has a real taste of me and the genres that I like,” she said, adding, “It’s really all over the place and each song has its own little story.  The first track, “This Old House,” was the opening number of the second set Saturday night.  “I want to dedicate this to my mom and dad and thank both of you for everything,” she said from the stage. “I wrote this thinking about the house we lived in for the first five years of my life.” Her parents are Jimmie and Charlene Pellerin of Rayne.  Another song, “Need to Rest,” was inspired by a little bird that landed on the bow of the boat she and her husband were sailing. “It was tired and couldn’t fly away so it just kind of sat there on the deck with the waves coming over the bow, resting,” she said. “When it was ready, it flew off. I think that told me that it’s okay to just sit back and take a breather sometimes.” The title song, “Drive,” she explained was inspired by a story she read about a man who always dreamed of driving cross-country but never got around to and ultimately died of cancer.  “He left his car to his son and the son decided he was going to fulfill his father’s dream,” she said.  “That story – that song is sort of a metaphor for my music career,” Waters said. “I decided this is what I want to do and now is the time to do it.  Life’s too short.”

She said she wrote the songs for “Drive” in about a week. In fact, she sent “about 15” to Joe Taylor, who produced the CD. “He narrowed it down to nine and decided we needed one more to round it out,” she said. “So I went home that night and wrote the last song.” It was during the recording of the CD that her new band was formed.  Taylor, a Grammy-nominated guitarist with his own studio, bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith and drummer Blair Shotts were doing studio work for other artists at the time.  “We mostly worked with young, aspiring artists who wanted to make their own CD,” Smith said during a break Saturday night. “But when Shelly came in, she was a polished professional. I told Joe, ‘We’ve got to play with her’.”

Before long they were opening for Loretta Lynn.  “These guys are really talented and I can’t believe I’m sharing a stage with them,” Waters said of her bandmates. “I’m so lucky.”  After this weekend’s road trip – they played in Mobile, Alabama, Friday night before the Rayne concert Saturday – the band members will be returning home:  Waters and Taylor to Charleston, Smith to Nashville and Shotts to Los Angeles.

“Yeah, we’re kind of scattered,” Waters laughed. “That’s why we have to cluster our shows right now.”  Meanwhile, Waters said she’ll keep busy with solo and duo (with Dave) performances until the next “tour” comes up. “I’m hoping we can do another ‘I-10 trip’ and play some more around here,” she said. “We’ve submitted (proposals) to some area festivals.”  And there’s more “original Shelly” in the works. “I already have my next CD in my head,” she said.  (Additional pictures and concert info will be carried in next week’s newspaper.) (Acadian – Tribune)



Shelly Waters, Joe Taylor Group bring drummer Blair Shotts back to Mobile on Friday

As seen at BayFest: Mobile native Blair Shotts and the Joe Taylor Group return to Dauphin Street  Friday night for a special performance with vocalist Shelly Waters.

Drummer Shotts is a Mobilian who has worked in the music industry in Los Angeles for well over a decade. His career highlights have included playing in a band that backed Rihanna at the Grammys and collaborating with Fishbone founder D’Angelo Moore in a group called Daddy Mention. Before he moved to the West Coast, his Port City career included the eclectic rock group Chifauco.

Shotts has worked for several years with Joe Taylor, a Grammy-nominated guitarist and producer based in South Carolina whose credits include ambient and smooth jazz, Celtic and classical music, and Broadway and TV soundtracks. The Joe Taylor Group performed at BayFest in 2013 and 2014, bringing an energetic, funky mix of music rooted in blues and jazz.

Waters, meanwhile, is a Louisiana native and self-described “swamp pop princess.” Guitar World, reviewing her new single “Drive,” credited her with a “strong, deep Americana and Country sound and distinct voice.”

The Joe Taylor Group also features Sean O’Brien Smith, a bassist who has worked with artists such as Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, P Funk and Billy Joel. “He’s a monster,” said Shotts. “He makes my job easy.”

Shotts said that given the diverse backgrounds of the players, listeners can expect to hear a wide variety of material. “We’re going to do a lot of Joe Taylor instrumental stuff as well as the Shelly material,” he said.

Shelly Waters with the Joe Taylor group will perform Friday, March 13, at The Brickyard, 266 Dauphin St. The show is scheduled to start about 9:30 p.m.  (al.com)



Shelly P. Waters returns home to release new CD during March 14 Legion concert

Rayne’s own Shelly Waters will return home on Saturday, March 14, when she will release her latest CD, “Drive” in front of a home-town crowd at the American Legion Home in Rayne.

“I’ve always wanted to come home and perform for all those people who have supported me from the beginning,” Shelly says of her upcoming show in Rayne. “I’ve gotten several requests from old friends and family to have a home-town show and it’s finally going to happen. I’m looking forward to the show and sure everyone will have fun, including me.”

Shelly’s musical journey started early in her hometown of Rayne. From those early days of playing with a Cajun French music band (J.B. David and The Muleskinners), then fronting her own band (Shelly Pellerin & Southern Spice) to her Southeast coastal lifestyle today (Shelly and her husband actually live on a sailboat!), there’s a lot of life in the songs Waters writes and sings. When asked to name influences she runs down a list of names drawn from country, rock and Americana, but then she gets a little antsy. “I never wanted someone to hear me in concert and say ‘wow, you sound just like so-and-so,’ she says. “I’m Shelly, that’s who I am.”

From intimate coffee shops to festival crowds of +10,000, Shelly has become a polished entertainer. She has performed in the same line up as Kitty Wells, Mel Tillis, John Anderson, Mickey Gilley and JoEl Sonnier (another Rayne native).  Most recently, Shelly has shared a stage with Loretta Lynn, Randall Bramblett, Hooray for the Riff Raff, Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, Kim Simmonds, Savoy Brown, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, John Primer, Drink Small, Beverly Guitar Watkins, Billy Boy Arnold and Robert Lighthouse. Shelly is an active member of the Americana Music Association and Nashville Songwriters Association International.

In bringing her musical vision to life, Shelly has been assisted by a kaleidoscope of talented sidemen, from Grammy-nominated Joe Taylor (who lends his formidable guitar skills), to wellknown session pros Blair Shotts (Rihanna, The Roots) on drums, and Sean O’Bryan Smith (Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum) on bass and Randall Bramblett (Widespread Panic, Bonnie Raitt) on Hammond B3 and Rhodes piano. Perhaps as a testament to Shelly’s writing, singing and musicianship, the respected trio of Joe, Sean and Blair are leaving the cozy confines of their usual studio habitats to hit the road with Shelly.

Shelly has truly revitalized her musical career and is thrilled to be coming home to Rayne for this special event. Experience their energetic show on Saturday, March 14, at the American Legion Home in Rayne…it’s going to be a great time!

Shelly’s new “Drive” CD, along with other cool merchandise will be available for purchase, in addition to refreshments and beverages as provided by members of the American Legion. NO outside concessions permitted. Admission is $10 per person (minimun 18 years of age). Show time is 8 p.m. until midnight. (Acadia Parish Today)



Exclusive Video Premier / GUITAR WORLD

We’re excited to share Shelly Waters’ new video for “Drive,” the title track from her new release out now on Moonwatcher Music.

Waters’ strong, deep Americana and Country sound and distinct voice are showcased here. This twangy, soulful song expertly conveys the lyrical meaning. That sense of longing, of knowing there’s gotta be more.

Waters shares, “I was inspired to write Drive by a story about a man who dreamed of taking a road trip. He worked, he planned, he dreamed, life happened…but so did cancer. Reflecting on his father’s life, the man’s son realized his father left him more than a car and an unfulfilled dream, but a life lesson. The son put his busy life on hold to take that trip…to find some answers…to Drive!”  Check out the video here.

Waters hails from the Cajun town of Rayne, LA. She picked up the guitar at an early age and hasn’t stopped strumming since.

Drive is her first album of all original songs, mining a deep Americana/Country vein. Featuring a wealth of amazing session musicians (Joe Taylor, Blair Shotts, Randall Bramblett and Sean O’Brien Smith), the first single ‘Drive’ highlights Shelly’s soulful croon with a low-slung bluesy sound. (Guitar World / Acoustic Nation)



Well-known Rayne Native Releases Debut Album

Signs record deal, revitalizes musical journey

The early years — a little, blonde-haired Rayne girl performing at local festivals and special events —- local fans still remember Shelly Pellerin belting out popular tunes as she fronted a live band.  Today, Shelly Pellerin Waters can be found singing songs from her new “Drive” CD under Joe Taylor’s Moonwatcher record label.

The first time Shelly Waters met the Moonwatcher Records’ owner, she found herself facing an impromptu audition. The veteran producer had heard Waters’ demos but needed to hear the voice devoid of home-production trappings. So he said, “play something for me and sing.”
Waters briefly flashed back to judging panels at youth beauty pageants, but quickly complied.  “She got two bars out and that was enough,” recalls Taylor, who signed on to produce Waters’ Moonwatcher label debut, Drive. “For me her voice has that indefinable ‘it factor.’ I don’t know how else to describe it. She’s got what Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris and other great, iconic singers have — a voice with such distinctive character that you can easily recognize it.”

The uniqueness of Waters’ voice may have something to do with the twists and turns of her story.  From a childhood in south Louisiana Cajun country to her Southeast coastal lifestyle today, there’s a lot of life in the songs Waters writes and sings. When asked to name influences she runs down a list of names drawn from country, rock and Americana, but then she gets a little antsy.  “I never wanted someone to hear me in concert and say ‘wow, you sound just like so-and-so,’ she says. “I’m Shelly, that’s who I am.”

Waters’ songwriting mines experiences for universal emotions. Inspired by a tiny bird that perched on her boat while she was miles out to sea, “Need To Rest” uses the metaphor to point to life’s little resting places.  “Drive” is a poignant seize-the-day reminder, inspired by a never taken father-son road trip and a personal metaphor for Shelly’s revitalized musical journey.  “Little Old House” conjures up childhood memories of a simple, humble upbringing.

The songs are rootsy, soulful and catchy, with “great hooks,” as Taylor notes, while Waters’ sultry voice smolders at the center of the mix. It’s truly impossible to put Drive in one stylistic camp, owing to Waters’ gumbo of disparate influences.  Both “Reaching for You” and “One and Only” (an homage to Patsy Cline) hearken back to the “swamp pop” of Waters’ upbringing — a regional subgenre perhaps best known for Phil Phillips’ 1959 hit “Sea Of Love” (later covered by Robert Plant and the Honeydrippers.)  On the other hand, “State Line” is mid-tempo rock with just the right touch of funkiness, while “She Waits” is a storytelling, acoustic-based ballad comparable to any big Nashville hit.

While there may be resonances with other iconic female singer/songwriters (both Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams come to mind) the product is “pure Shelly,” and a product of her undeniable creativity and soul.  In bringing her musical vision to life, Waters has been assisted by a merry cohort of copacetic sidemen, from Grammy-nominated Joe Taylor (who lends his formidable guitar skills) to well-known session pros Randall Bramblett (Widespread Panic, Bonnie Raitt) on Hammond B3 and Rhodes piano, Blair Shotts (Rihanna, The Roots) on drums, and Sean O’Bryan Smith (Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum) on bass.  Famed New York City recording engineer Mark Richardson (Alchematic Productions) captured the sound at Salt Creek Recording Studio and Grammy-winning mix/master engineer Chris Theis (Theis Mix) put the final touches on the project.

Perhaps as a testament to Waters’ writing, singing and musicianship, these respected musicians are leaving the cozy confines of their usual studio habitats to hit the road with Shelly, playing dates that include shows with Loretta Lynn and Hooray For the Riff-Raff.
“These players just love Shelly,” Taylor enthuses.

And surely Acadiana locals will enjoy Shelly’s new CD, “Drive.”

(Shelly is the daughter of Jimmie and Charlene Pellerin of Rayne and a 1986 graduate of Rayne High School.)

By Lisa Soileaux, Assistant Editor, Rayne Acadian-Tribune


Shelly Waters releases new record – Drive is out November 4

In August, local country music songstress Shelly Waters opened up for Loretta Lynn at Boone Hall Plantation, and now she’s releasing a brand-new album. Drive features Charleston musicians including Joe Taylor, Randall Bramblett, Blair Shotts, and Sean O’Brien Smith. Recorded at Taylor’s Charleston studio and released on his own Moonwatcher Records, the 10-track album is slated for a Nov. 4 release on Amazon and iTunes. (Charleston City Paper)

Posted by Kelly Rae Smith on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 5:12 PM




Bluegrass with a twist and a view at Edisto Island festival

While most people are heading to Halloween-related events or driving north to leaf-peep this weekend, one of the most laid-back festivals of the fall takes place Saturday at a picturesque coastal plantation.

The music at Edisto Island Mostly Bluegrass Festival shares the starring role with the grounds of Westbank Plantation, where the sea breeze wafts through centuries-old live oaks with tidal creeks winding in the background.

In that location, a bunch of kids playing kazoos might be enough, but festival organizers recruit performers to equal the stunning location.

The headliner is Hurray for the Riff Raff, which is Alynda Lee Segarra’s take on Americana music. Segarra’s rootsy folk sound has landed gigs on “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Conan” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Shelly Waters with the Joe Taylor Group brings a Creole-Country flavor to the festival, while the rest of the lineup is more bluegrass oriented – Southern Flavor Bluegrass, Blue Iguanas, Flatt City, Blue Plantation, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, and Lonesome River Bank.

Doors open at 11 a.m., music starts at noon, Hurray for the Riff Raff takes the stage at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the gate. Bring your own chair, but leave the cooler at home. Dogs are allowed on leashes. Beer and wine is available at the festival. Concessions feature the Roti Rolls food truck and Po Pigs Bo-B-Q. More info: www.edistobluegrass.com (The State)

Joey Holleman