Friday, November 17, 2023

Archive Review: Theresa Andersson's Shine (2005)

Theresa Andersson’s Shine
Talented singer, songwriter, and musician Theresa Andersson brings quite a pedigree to her work. She spent nearly a decade playing her electric violin behind acclaimed blues/jazz guitarist Anders Osborne and has provided vocals and/or violin to recordings by Cowboy Mouth, World Leader Pretend, Galactic, Marva Wright, and many others. Along the way, Andersson has won just about every award that New Orleans has available to bestow upon local performers, including the 2003 “Big Easy Award for Best Female Artist.” Considering the rich musical heritage of the city, Andersson’s accolades represent quite an accomplishment.

Theresa Andersson’s Shine

Poised for a major breakthrough to a national audience, Shine is Andersson’s excellent sophomore effort. Across the dozen songs collected on Shine, Andersson mines the same vein of American music as John Hiatt, Sonny Landreth, and Marc Broussard. That is, her music crosses rock, folk, blues, and country with the effortless grace of a dancer. Andersson’s voice is thin – whispery really – but it is warm and not shrill by any measure. Quite distinctive, Andersson’s vocals don’t mimic popular trends and artists. Earthy and capable of great expression of emotion and passion, Andersson’s voice provides a timeless quality to her performances.

It’s with her lyrics that Andersson really shines, however. Bringing a new perspective to the familiar ground of love and relationships, Andersson is a romantic at heart who (too) often wears her heart on her sleeve. Evincing a working class point-of-view native to the blues or country music, Andersson fills her songs with wonderfully brilliant imagery and poetic flourishes. At once both sexy and coy, she falls hard but always picks herself up. Even when reading other songwriter’s material – as with Anders Osborne’s “It’s Gonna Be Okay” – Andersson grabs the material and claims it for her own with magnificent vocal performances. The album-closing rendition of Grayson Capp’s “Lorraine’s Song” (from the movie A Love Song For Bobby Long) features Sonny Landreth playing behind Andersson.  

The Reverend’s Bottom Line

Wielding her electric violin like a magician’s wand across each song’s arrangement, Andersson is able to alternately provoke empathy, sadness or joy within the instrument’s range and the context of the lyric. Backed by a top-notch band that includes guitarists Glenn LeBlanc and Shane Theriot, Andersson has delivered a solid second effort in Shine, drawing on her experience to craft a fine showcase for her considerable talents. An accomplished musician, a skilled-but-still-maturing songwriter and an electrifying live performer, Theresa Andersson is sexy, beautiful and talented. Along with fellow artists Marc Broussard and Grayson Capps, expect her to put Lousiana back onto the musical map. (Basin Street Records, 2004)

Review originally published by Alt.Culture.Guide™, 2005

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