It’s sometimes hard to listen to music and think of it outside the context of every other piece of music you’ve ever heard before. The first time I listened through Picking Daisies, the new album by Shelly Bhushan, I kept getting hung up on that. “Oh, that piano sounds like something out of Fiona Apple,” I would think when listening to the title track, “That horn run reminds me of that one from that Fishbone tune. That’s really cool.” But on repeat listens, I was able to take a couple mental steps back and view Bhushan’s work on her first full-length album as completely her own, and that, let me tell you, is even cooler. One thing that helps is the nimble genre-hopping she manages across the album’s ten tracks.
Backed by a bustling brass section on the harder tunes, those same horns turn jazz-tinged when it’s needed just one short song later. A string section bolsters the action (when’s the last time you heard strings used in an interesting way on an up-tempo pop song?) one second and makes ’em weep on a ballad the next. Picking Daisies starts with some funk/rock and ends with a country sing-a-long. Reading over her bio (from Texas, moved to NYC to front a soul-rock band), these twists and turns make more sense. A lot of artists get bogged down in the need to not get locked into one style, but Bhushan and her band weave in and out of them quite easily. Her bio also uses the phrase “vocal power” and boy is that dead on. Bhushan’s got some pipes and she doesn’t hold back. Lucky for us.
Shelly Bhushan – Picking Daisies Shelly Bhushan – Beautiful Me Shelly Bhushan – The Nest
Also our pal Scholar did a great interview with Shelly over at Souled On. Read it!
And hey, kids in the NYC area should check out her show this Saturday night at The Waltz-Astoria in beautiful Astoria, Queens.
posted by Adam