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By 7:30

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Album Review

Vonda Shepard is a perfect example of how radically one's luck can change for the better. Given the boot by Reprise in 1992, the singer/songwriter lacked either a record deal or a manager for several years — from 1992 to 1996, the last thing one expected from her was a platinum album. But in the late 1990s, Shepard's frequent appearances on Fox-TV's hit program Ally McBeal gave her a major boost, and 1998's Songs from Ally McBeal went platinum in the U.S. thanks to sales exceeding one million units. Shepard's follow-up to Songs from Ally McBeal was By 7:30, a good-to-excellent collection of pop and pop-rock that often draws on Joni Mitchell's influence without obscuring Shepard's own identity. A few of the tunes venture into glossy, slick adult contemporary territory — most notably, "Baby, Don't You Break My Heart Slow," a duet with Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls — but for the most part, Shepard favors a more organic and introspective approach that should appeal to the Lillith Fair audience. Indeed, those who have appreciated the emotional complexity and depth of Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan will find a lot to admire in cuts like "Venus Is Breaking," "Cross to Bear," and "Clear." These aren't songs that go for immediacy; even though parts of the album are commercial, 7:30 is, on the whole, an album that has to be accepted on Shepard's own creative terms.


Born: July 07, 1963 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Vonda Shepard enjoyed one of the more unique career breakthroughs in pop music history; while most performers rely on radio airplay or relentless touring to win fans, Shepard instead shot to fame as a result of the hit television series Ally McBeal, which featured her performing live on an almost weekly basis. Shepard was born in New York City in 1963, but her family relocated to California a few years later; there Shepard studied voice and piano, and was just a teen when she recorded...
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By 7:30, Vonda Shepard
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