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Who's Got Trouble

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Album Review

The velvety torch-and-twang tenor of singer/songwriter Ambrosia Parsley — her name alone is delicious — permeates Shivaree's third full-length record like smoke through a saloon filled with carnies. The trio's sophisticated blend of spacious alt-country and dark pop with Tin Pan Alley sensibilities — keyboardist Danny McGough toured with Tom Waits — more than lives up to the band name, which is derived from the French word "charivari," meaning "a noisy mock serenade (made by banging pans and kettles) to a newly married couple." Parsley, who sounds like a mischievous composite of Neko Case, Jill Sobule, and Aimee Mann, feels just as natural assuming the role of torchy vamp ("Lost in a Dream") as she does a wounded heart pining for her "Mexican Boyfriend," and "Little Black Mess," with its sensuous strings and jazzy piano, comes off like a moon-drunk cross between Björk and Nick Cave. At its core, Who's Got Trouble? is the soundtrack to a late-night road trip, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the subtle closer, "I Will Go Quietly." With its atmospheric banjo bookends and lonely last-cigarette-before-the-sun-comes-up imagery, it leaves the listener with an alarming sense of place and an unsettling case of Twin Peaks creeps.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Taking their name from a word meaning a drunken serenade, the trio Shivaree is led fronted by Ambrosia Parsley. Born in the San Fernando Valley and inspired by her grandmother, who would play ukulele around town, Parsley's first gig was singing with a 99-piece senior citizen banjo band at a local pizza place. At the age of 13, she left home, traveling the country and pursuing her love of music. She met guitarist Duke McVinnie, who had worked with Exene Cervenka, Johnny Otis, and J.J. Cale at a recording...
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Who's Got Trouble, Shivaree
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