Album Review by Mark Bayross
ALONG CAME A SPIDER is the new album from Nashville-born Shannon Beaty and follows her debut QUEEN FOR A DAY with an acoustic set of 13 songs. It is self-produced, with contributions from a variety of seasoned musicians (who have played with the likes of Alanis Morrisette, Rod Stewart, Frank Zappa, Michael Jackson and Cher).
Musically, the album varies from stripped-down acoustic strums (FRACTURE, HARD TO BE HAPPY) to acerbic, driving songs (MELROSE IN THE MORNING, BAD MAN) that have a more Sheryl Crow-style immediacy about them. Occasionally, the sound opens up to incorporate other instruments – accordion, viola, cello, koto – while the closing reprise of FRACTURE replaces the original’s guitar with Roger Burns on piano to stunning effect.
Unfortunately the lyrics occasionally veer towards the trite – “Hear me suffer / I’m tattooed with the ache of you / The flower died when I gave you mine” (SILENTLY DROWNING) – but for the most part, these are heartfelt laments and wry observations on life and love with which most people will identify.
Perhaps the stand-out track is the cover of The Beach Boys’ GOD ONLY KNOWS, with Beaty’s iridescent voice backed by cello and viola – a definitive demonstration of her talent as a singer.