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Pretty Runs Out

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Album Review

Only 16 years of age, New Orleans fiddler/songwriter/singer Amanda Shaw makes an impressive debut with Pretty Runs Out, an album that runs a fairly wide gamut of musical styles but never sounds like it comes from anyplace other than her home town. The title track, which opens the album, carries with it a faint whiff of the new wave '80s (there's just a touch of Kate Bush in the melody), and the funky beats and snotty lyrics on "Brick Wall" somehow manage to sound like a French Quarter version of middle-period Talking Heads (with horns and some very greasy guitar). "I Don't Want to Be Your Friend" is a brilliant country-Cajun romantic kiss-off song written by Diane Warren, originally recorded by Cyndi Lauper, and brilliantly performed by Shaw as if it had been written just for her. "French Jig," which is not a jig, is a spare and dry Cajun instrumental with a hint of ska thrown in for extra spice. The album's highlight, though, is a slow-burning song of longing titled "Wishing Me Away"; her double-tracked fiddle solo halfway through is a gem of restrained emotion, and her close-miked vocals are a perfect balance of intimacy and power. Then the album closes with a brilliant Cajun reel set and "Easy on Your Way Out," which sounds for all the world like a parody of pompous 1970s white funk-rock. Not bad for a kid who was born in the early '90s. Highly recommended.

Biography

Born: 02 August 1990

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

When New Orleans-based singer, songwriter, bandleader, and fiddle player Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys take the stage, it's an incongruous sight. Shaw turned 16 in 2007, but the boys in the band — drummer Mike Barras, guitarist Brint Anderson, and bassist Ronnie Falgout — are long-time vets. The youngest Cute Guy is 45, and they've been playing with Shaw since she was a ten-year-old prodigy. Shaw's a classically trained violinist who decided to play traditional Cajun dance music shortly...
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Pretty Runs Out, Amanda Shaw
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