album reviews

Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy
A Tell All
Sweet Nectar (2013)

Kindred spirits: Neko Case, Mary Lou Lord, Drive-By Truckers.

Shonna Tucker spent nearly a decade performing and writing songs with the Drive-By Truckers ("I'm Sorry Huston", "Home Field Advantage") before splitting to pursue a solo career. As a result, her first solo album, "A Tell All", doesn’t have the shakiness of some debuts. Tucker displays the ease and consistency of a veteran performer with the help of her band, Eye Candy.

Tucker's solo work is most immediately different from the Truckers' in its brightness. Even on its moodier tracks, "A Tell All" has an uptempo pop sheen. Album-opener "Since Jimmy Came" is reminiscent of the warmth and springiness of Mary Lou Lord's work, while the pouty sass on "I Bought a Pie" is intensified by a super-catchy guitar riff. The seductive twang of "Linda Please" pays homage to Dolly Parton's pleading on "Jolene", and "Your Jealousy" sways with a blend of pop and country.

"A Tell All" has a few hokey moments. "A Family Dinner" (its lyrics inspired the album title) is one of the weaker tracks but still manages to capture both Tucker's Alabama roots and the congenial buzz of family get-togethers. The dreamy "Arielle" nearly dissolves under Tucker's wispy vocals, which is surprising since the other tender songs—"Old Fashioned" and "Lonely People"—are among the most memorable, showing that Tucker has more tricks up her sleeve beyond her raucous boot-stompers.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 7 February 2014.
.: A Tell All on