She Has It all, SHANNON McNALLY The Waylon Sessions
by Walter Price
There’s a vastness between liking the heyday of outlaw country and understanding the names behind the seminal sounds in the against-the-grain country music revolution. Singer Shannon McNally knows this and her deep dive into the classics sung by Waylon Jennings, ‘The Waylon Sessions’, is a masterclass in respect to an era that changed how the anti-pop Nashville scene influenced the future of music and gave birth to the Americana movement.
This LP is loaded with the music I grew up on. I was raised in dancehalls, juke joints, and honky-tonks across Texas and the South watching my Pops perform, and in between his own songs, he would slide in tunes originated by Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell, Willie, Jones, and Waylon and this set takes me back home and that is its authentic magic. A homecoming.
McNally could’ve turned these historied songs into a hard-rockin’ country reinterpretation like so many before her have, but she didn’t. Rather, this Nashville-based performer used a production style and a voice that are true to the past. A sound that feels like it’s on the Austin City Limits stage and full of authenticity around every note.
Fabled tracks like “I’ve Always Been Crazy”, “I’m A Ramblin’ Man”, Adam Mitchell’s 1979 penned “Out Among The Stars” and “Waltz Me to Heaven” are standouts here. But with contributions from Rodney Crowell, Jessi Colter, and Lukas Nelson, pointing a favored finger at any track isn’t fair. You can stream the full LP and see the music video for the Billy Joe Shaver written “Black Rose” now at the GTC and decide for yourself if this album isn’t one of 2021’s heroes of country music.
SHANNON McNALLY The Waylon Sessions
Recorded by Parker Cason at Creative Workshop Studios, Nashville, TN / Pat Manske at The Zone, Dripping Springs, TX / Justin Francis at Goosehead Palace and Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN / Clarke Rigsby at Tempest Recording
Mix Engineer Trina Shoemaker
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt
Produced by Shannon McNally
Executive Producer Joe Poletto
Studio Photography Stacie Huckeba
Album Photography Alysse Gafkjen
Waylon Photo by Alan Messer
Art Direction & Design
Shauna Dodds & Sarah Dodds at Backstage Design Studio, Austin, Texas
Layout Robert Hakalski
“Like her anti-hero heroes J.J. Cale, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan. Dr. John, and Jim Dickinson, McNally knows who she serves. She serves the song. Her quiet but steady plodding through the many layers of the business of music hasn’t ever been rewarded with massive fame and fortune but in time that slow burn has become the treasure in and of itself.” – bio