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From the Sun

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Album Review

When Fox TV canceled Ally McBeal in 2002 and the comedy/drama's star Calista Flockhart moved on to other activities, there was some joking about Vonda Shepard in the music business. Most of the jokes were along these lines: "Oops! What is Vonda McBeal — I mean Vonda Shepard — going to do now? Go to law school, perhaps?" (Flockhart's Ally McBeal character was a lawyer). But those jokes were somewhat unfair. It's true that Shepard milked Ally McBeal for all it was worth; she contributed to no less than four Ally McBeal-related albums. However, Shepard was writing worthwhile songs long before Ally McBeal debuted in 1997 — for Shepard, Ally McBeal was a lucky break that came after a lot of dues-paying — and she continued to write them long after Ally McBeal's cancellation. Released in 2008 (the year Shepard turned 45), From the Sun comes six years post-Ally McBeal and is one of her most consistent albums. Some of the credit goes to Mitchell Froom, who produced this 34-minute CD and no doubt gave Shepard a lot of constructive feedback. But ultimately, most of the credit goes to Shepard, who wrote all of the material herself. One of the things that makes From the Sun a creative success is Shepard's willingness to provide some R&B-minded songs; her appreciation of classic soul is especially evident on "Ecstatic" and "Downtown (Dirtytown)," although she has never been an R&B singer in the strict sense. Rather, she is a pop/rock singer who occasionally brings R&B-minded songs to an adult alternative/adult contemporary orientation, and pop/rock is clearly the main ingredient on introspective tracks such as "Another January," "Where I Belong," "The Rocky Water," and "Finally Home." Shepard's albums haven't always been consistent, but From the Sun is one of her best releases and finds her in memorable form as both a vocalist and a songwriter.


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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From the Sun, Vonda Shepard
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