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SUN HERALD

This Nov. 4 release is singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist Shelly Waters’ debut recording, and she’s backed by some heavy hitters. Producer Joe Taylor adds guitars and mandolin to a crew of Randall Bramblett (Hammond B-3 and Rhodes), Blair Shotts (drums) and Sean O’Bryan Smith (bass). This is a genre-jumping group of Waters original songs.

My favorites are the bluegrass-blues flavored “Little Old House,” the slide-guitar-powered title song, the country-bopping “Dance in the Rain,” the twangy “She Waits” and the beautiful-but-exhausted “Need to Rest.” (HHHH)

Broad-minded Americana fans will dig this one. (Sun Herald)

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BOOMEROCITY

I love the challenge of attempting to describe genre-less music and their artists. I’m not very good at it but I do love the challenge, nonetheless. Such is the case with new Moonwatcher Records artist, Shelly Waters, and her debut CD, “Drive.” To borrow a line from Donny and Marie, Shelly is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll . . . with a bit of great cajun spice thrown it to make things interesting.

To that point, Moonwatcher Records haunch, Joe Taylor, said of Ms. Waters, “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.”  Boomerocity couldn’t agree with Mr. Taylor more.

It’s been said that the uniqueness of Waters’ voice may have something to do with the meandering path of her life story. Raised in the Cajun country of southern Louisiana and currently living on the coast in the southeast, she can draw for that diverse experience to write the kinds of great songs that she does.
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 and says, “I never wanted someone to hear me in concert and say ‘wow, you sound just like so-and-so. I’m Shelly, that’s who I am.”

Here’s a little insight into Shelly’s “Drive”:

“Little Old House” is a brilliantly written tune that conjures up childhood memories of a simple, humble upbringing that we all long for in contrast to the crazy world in which we live.  The title cut, “Drive,” is a poignant, not so gentle reminder to take advantage of every moment and opportunity afforded to us as well as serving as a personal metaphor for Shelly’s revitalized musical journey.  “Reaching for You” and “One and Only” (an homage to Patsy Cline) reaches back to the “swamp pop” of Waters’ upbringing.  “Need To Rest” was inspired by a small bird that nested on her boat while she was miles out to sea and uses the metaphor to point to life’s little resting places. “State Line” is a funky little rocker that smacks a little of Melissa Etheridge (and that’s a compliment!) while “She Waits” is a storytelling, acoustic-based ballad of comtemplation.

This is a great CD by an up and coming artist who I think we’ll hear a lot more about in the years to come. I’m keeping my eyes on her. (boomerocity.com)

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BABYSUE

If there is one word we would use to describe Shelly Waters’ music that word would be…real. In a world where most commercial artists have a sound that is about as genuine as a can of Cheese Whiz, Drive immediately stands out because it sounds like a real person with real emotions. Ms. Waters wrote all ten tracks on her Moonwatcher Music debut and they are all reflective and memorable. Shelly has some heavyweights backing her up. Artists lending their talents to these recordings include Joe Taylor (guitars, mandolin), Randall Bramblett (organ, piano), Sean O’Bryan Smith (bass), Blair Shotts (drums, percussion), and Sherry Hill (backing vocals). While Waters’ voice and songs may remind listeners of many classic singer/songwriters from the past and present, it’s hard to pin down exactly who she sounds like. And that’s probably because she isn’t really trying to sound like anyone but herself. If all the pieces fall into place as they should, Shelly may soon find herself playing for some huge crowds. Kickass cuts include “Little Old House,” “She Waits,” “One and Only,” and “Need To Rest.” (babysue.com)

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THE ALTERNATE ROOT

Shelly Waters was a ten year-old when her parents gave her the idea for a hobby. She learned chords on her guitar from a local auto parts store manager and began playing. Within a year she was strumming with J.B. and the Muleskinners, and by the time Shelly was twelve she was fronting her own country band. As happens, the teenager in Shelly decided not to take the industry offers and she put her hobby in the closet for over a decade. Drive is the result of the muse in Shelly Waters’ life breaking down the door and looking for a ride. The country music she played as a child comes in as a classic influence on Drive though it is the future of the genre that gets the needed growing room. The album opens with “Little Old House” introduces the South Louisiana of her upbringing, keeping country at home with mandolins, staying warm with soft clouds of organ while the slash of guitar chords plays tag with the rock’n’roll in Shelly’s vocal . Drive dials in an AM radio country that pours like the weather over Shelly as she goes for a “Dance in the Rain”, puts funk in the gas tank as she heads to “State Line” and freckles the air with firefly notes as she answers the gypsy call in the title track. (thealternateroot.com)
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POPCULTUREZ (UK)

Shelly Waters’ debut release for Moonwatcher Music has seen her link up with a whole heap of talented musicians, who have worked with stars like Keith Urban, Rihanna, Widespread Panic, The Roots, and others. It is testament to her talent that Shelly has also got these same musicians to head out on the road to support her as she embarks on a tour that includes dates alongside Loretta Lynn.

While her label boss asserts that “these players just love Shelly,” she looks set to gain plenty more fans with her latest, 10-track album. There is no doubt that ‘Drive’ could only have been made in the United States, with a distinct Americana flow that brings in tints of rock and a strong Country music swagger too.  Whether it is with the country-blues laden ‘Reaching For You,’ or the inspiring title track, Shelly never fails to impress with the musicality of the tracks. However, it is Shelly’s voice that really carries the day and makes this album stand out. Take the stripped back ‘She Waits’ for example, which lets the listener focus on the lyrics while the guitar plucks play lightly and organ lines bring a depth of feeling.

With a soulful and emotive delivery that is all her own, Shelly Waters shows exactly how she impressed Moonwatcher Records boss, Joe Taylor when called to audition for him. Taylor says that he made his mind up to sign Waters after just “two bars,” but there is much more than that on offer here.

With a rich, lush production backing her up, Shelly Waters looks set to become a real leading light of Americana, and will be sure to please and appease fans of everything from this style, through to swamp pop, country, acoustic rock, and folk.  At times the influences can seem to be writ large, such as the Dire Straits-sounding guitar lines on ‘Revolve,’ but it would be unfair to compare this album to closely to that of others. Shelly shows she is her own woman, with her own voice as ‘Drive’ offers a relaxed yet emotive selection that deserves attention from fans of Americana, rock, and more.

Well worth a look…(PopcultureZ, UK)

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SAN DIEGO TROUBADOUR

Ten singer-songwriter tracks mixing up country, rock and blues. The key to Waters sound in that trio is country, with a brace of tracks that is more sounds of Bakersfield than today’s radio. Not to say this is retro, far from it. Tracks like “Dance in the Rain” do come across like a Patsy Cline outtake with authentic sound and mix. However, “Revolve” is an all together more modern sounding track – still country, but atmospheric, with Clapton-esque lead work from Joe Taylor. The clear single here is “Promises” which melds an R&B beat and pop hooks for a great chorus – it’s not hard to visualize a crowd singing along to this one. “One and Only” is a more straight forward bluesy ballad, think Etta James, while “State Line” adds a bit of Hammond driven funk to the proceedings. The singer-songwriter field is overcrowded at the moment, but Waters songs are well worth searching out if you’re a fan of those first sentence genres or just good music in general. Produced by Joe Taylor. (San Diego Troubadour)

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ANTIMUSIC

There’s a new artist on the Americana scene, but Shelly Waters is not a beginner. A native of Louisiana’s Cajun country, Waters previously worked in the genre known regionally as “swamp pop,” but Drive finds her, well, driving down many of the various lanes that the Americana tag offers. And clearly her eyes are on the road. “Dance in the Rain” is a classic country shuffle that’ll get listeners off the hay bale and onto the dance floor, “Reaching for You” is a bluesy torch song that recalls Patsy Cline and “She Waits” is a quiet tearjerker about an absent lover. The album’s title cut is also one of its most striking; “Drive” has an unmistakable Allman Brothers Band feel to it as it borrows from “Midnight Rider” but it is Waters’ strong voice that’s the star, plaintive one moment and determined the next and with all the emotion heightened with slide guitar interplay from Joe Taylor. Fans should be thankful for whatever it was that made Waters decide to tweak her sound as Drive reveals a stunning talent not far from household name status. (antimusic.com)

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Pittsburgh in Tune

Shelly Waters showcases her vocals, songwriting chops on sublime new album ‘Drive’
I doubt I’d ever get tired of hearing Shelly Waters sing. The Louisiana native has one of those voices that lures you right in and proceeds to envelop you in sonic warmth. Hopefully latest album “Drive” will be the album that puts the talented singer/songwriter on the map. Waters has earned comparisons to the likes of Shawn Colvin and the great Emmylou Harris, but takes pride in the uniqueness of her emotive vocals. “I never wanted someone to hear me in concert and say, ‘Wow, you sound just like so-and-so,’” Waters explains. “I’m Shelly, that’s who I am.” She’s filled the 10-track release with a host of first-rate tunes that showcase her voice and writing chops. My favorite cuts are “Little Old House,” the title track, “One and Only” and the rocking “State Line,” but Waters also scores with “Dance in the Rain,” “Promises” and closer “Need to Rest.” Highly recommended. —Jeffrey Sisk (Pittsburgh in Tune)

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