Water Through Stone

Shantell Ogden

Independent release, 2008


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I get a lot of independent music sent to me -- and thankfully, I now have a new job, which means I get a lot of time to listen to it (Yay). So I'm slogging through a three-month backlog right now, and I admit that means that if a CD doesn't hook me in the first twenty minutes or so, I'm not likely to listen to it any further.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The debut album from Utah singer-songwriter Shantell Ogden, on the other hand, had absolutely nothing to worry about. From the first piano lick, I was hooked on Water Through Stone. This is a strong, vibrant debut from a talent worth watching.

The disc’s sound is spare but rich, a careful balance of the typical hallmarks of acoustic folk with an occasional unexpected twist (the piano on the title track, for example). Ogden's voice is crystalline and clear, but unlike many singers in the same vein, she has the pipes to support it; it never seems thin or tentative. Production and engineering by Jay Vern is workmanlike but fits the sound of the album; there may be a little lacking on the bass end, but it's not a major quibble.

The prime draw on Water Through Stone, however, are the magnificent, magnificent songs. "Stay" is a powerful ballad about lost love and wanting things never to end. "We Come Here" is a chilling and effective indictment of the intersection of religion and hypocrisy. Every song here is effective, confessional, powerful, and worth repeated listens.

In a genre crammed with mediocrity, the songsmithing of Shantell Ogden stands out like a spotlight on a dark night. Water Through Stone is worth the effort to seek out; you won't regret it.

Rating: A-

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