CD REVIEW: Meghan Shanley - Ready for Love
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Shanley brings the mojo"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Label: PIF Music
Soul Pop, R&B, Pop-Jazz Crossover
Weakness: Short sided CD, Short sided songs, No Barcode, more solo segments
Former Miss Virginia Meghan Shanley blends beloved standards with a delightful taste of jazz and soul to deliver a compelling performance every time she steps to the microphone. Meghan also shares unique original tunes that harken back to a classic era. Winner of the Miss Virginia title, Meghan discovered an insatiable appetite for meeting fans and making new friends during a life on the road that saw her traveling over 3,000 miles a month in the wake of her win. With a deep love of music, Meghan discovered that she loved touring as well and began to focus on the pursuit of a career in music. She followed her passion from her home state of Virginia and headed to Nashville. This latest 10 track release “Ready for Love” was released in 2014. .
The CD takes flight with the intoxicating title track that serves up soulful vocals from Shanley with impressive R&B feel, slamming Horn section, well placed vocal harmonies, against a grand slam chorus. Track 2 “One Day” shifts gears a bit with its methodical Piano driven intro eventually lending itself into an impressive “Gold Standard” ballad that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Synergy” keeps thing moving in the right direction with its infectious thick as a brick rhythm section, impressive soulful ambience and thought provoking lyrical message. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 solid tracks in a row. I would classify this music as Soul Pop Rock, with a dash of Rocking Blues. Also present are unique elements of what I would call Full Tilt Contemporary Vocal-Soul. Its impressive how well all the aforementioned genera’s come together on this CD without sounding to forced or fused together. All in all the CD touches a wide range of musical styles. Besides the four piece standard you will notice impressive instrumentation with things like impressive guitar, solo guitar, organ, sporadic keyboard and synth accents, well-placed harmonies, Horn section, Piano, Bluesy Guitar, well placed harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section to boot. The musicianship, musical touches and vocal performances from Shanley are clearly above the bar. As for her vocal abilities, she works extremely well within the confines of this catalogue. She’s got a very good look (former Miss Virginia), a catchy mystique and knows how to sit deep within the pocket and sing a song with amazing vocal fluidity. Shanley’s got enough soul to go around. Her voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with an infectious jagged edge. She’s got a good vibrato and impressive Mezzo Soprano. Shanley showcases an impressive falsetto and has much to offer insofar as power, control and finesse. The songwriting consistent and rock solid across the board. The harmonies and melodies are well placed and well crafted. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. This 10 track offering from Shanley is rock solid and delivers everything you would expect from a top-tiered musical Production, providing much in the way of musical variety and melodic vocal layering. It definitely offers a lot of musical depth and variety within the sonic space. Vocally she reminds me of a combination of Christina Aguilera and Faith Hill. Her music reminds me of Bonnie Raitt, Amy Winehouse, Sara Bareilles, Kelly Clarkston, Pink, Melanie C, Dido, Sophie B. Hawkins and even Anita Baker. All songs are well crafted and consistent across the board. From heartfelt “Break My Heart” to smooth as silk “Never Will” to heartfelt “Better Left Unsaid” to rocking “Mysterious” to grooving “Shake It” to emotional “Without You” this 10 Track CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Smile” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
CD is a bit short with just 10 tracks. Perhaps 3-4 more songs are needed to make this a fully loaded release. All songs under 3 minutes feel like incomplete statements to me. There is no barcode on the flipside of the CD indicating to me a retail non-compatibility. I wish there were more solo segments throughout. I wish there were more solo segments
From start to finish “Ready for Love” by Meghan Shanley brings the mojo and is a very strong 10 track statement from start to finish. The music is diverse, grooving, upbeat, soulful and sonically entertaining. The songwriting – all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. The writing, playing and singing abilities of Meghan Shanley and her band are highly marketable. Her overall persona and mainstream persona is something millions of people should gravitate towards.