Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions

Shannon Curfman

Arista Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Whew. Where do we start on this one? OK. First off, Shannon Curfman is the best new blues/rock voice I've heard in a long time. That's not hyperbole, that's simple truth. She sings like a roadhouse angel after too many Marlboros, she plays guitar like a demon, and she's just damned fun to listen to. I've got to think that she's having a lot of fun with her new-found success, but I'll bet she hasn't bought a new car yet.

See, she's not old enough to drive. Shannon Curfman is 14.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In a world where the Nine-Headed Britney Aguilera N'Sync Beast rules the teenybopper airwaves, a real teenager has chops you will not believe. I admit it, I thought it was a marketing ploy, and I picked Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions up as a freebie when I joined a new record club. Talk about good luck - from the first track, I was hooked.

Curfman's voice is rich, strong, and powerful, incredibly mature sounding for her age, reminiscent of a cross between Amanda Marshall, Tammi Terrell, and Bonnie Raitt. Her guitar is flat incredible, switching from slide blues to Texas roadhouse to rock to country-blues without a break. Her backing musicians and collaborators, including fellow under-20 rocker Jonny Lang, are exemplary, the sound on this CD is seamless and fluid but still rough enough to leave the blue in the blues. At the risk of sounding redundant, Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions is incredible .

All the tracks on this CD are good, but commended for your special attention is the gutsy blues/soul of "Few And Far Between," shades of Raitt woven in with the Hammond organ in the background; the roots blues of "No Riders"; the wistful lover's words of "If You Change Your Mind" (and did we mention this girl hasn't dated yet?); the gritty rock of "Playing With Fire"…forget it, it's all good. This is my pick for Best Album of 2000, at least so far.

The single cover on the CD is an interesting choice. Curfman handles The Band's "The Weight" relatively well, though it's the only track on the CD on which her vocals waver slightly. She does make it her own song, though, rather than just a rote cover, which in my opinion is always an improvement.

I feel like I'm repeating myself in this review a lot, but let me say it again: Shannon Curfman is incredible, and Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions is the best album of 2000 at this point. Run, don't walk, and buy this disc.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Arista Records, and is used for informational purposes only.