Album Review - Black Irish

By: Vinyl Draught - Clear Lake | Published 07/08/2017

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Shannon McNally - Black Irish
Compass Records 2017
Review by Doug Meisinger

To be fair, I'm a pretty big Shannon McNally fan. I first became aware of her when I was working for EMI and Capitol Records had put together something called The Girls Room Tour.  The lineup featured Amy Correia, Kendall Payne, Tara MacLean and Shannon McNally. On a crowded bill, Shannon was a standout. Even then, you could tell her music was coming from a deep place. So much so, she seemed a little out of place on that tour. As I recall, we were working off an EP at that time and it took a while for her full length Capitol debut (Jukebox Sparrows) to come out.
After leaving Capitol, she went on to record for Back Porch Records (which was still part of EMI) and released the classic Geronimo, a live album (North American Ghost Music) and the stellar Southside Sessions with Charlie Sexton.
Since then, Shannon has consistently put out great music and toured extensively. This leads us up to her latest ablbum Black Irish. For me, the sign of a great album is how imediate it feels. "You Made Me Feel for You" kicks things off and right away, you know this album is going to be special. Blusey, smokey, rockin', heartbreaking and soulful. Black Irish hits all the right notes and then some. I could bore you with a track by track anaylis of Black Irish, but you're so much better served by listening. Standout tracks include "Banshee Moan", "Roll Away the Stone", the gospel infused "Let's Go Home" and the stunning "Prayer in Open D". The production (by Rodney Crowell) is impeccable and you get the feeling that everyone involved had a blast making this record. I've been listening on vinyl, but I can't wait to go for a drive, with this album playing LOUD.
No doubt, Black Irish will make a lot of Americana "Best of 2017" lists, but it goes far beyond that. Shannon McNally has simply made one of the best albums of 2017, period.

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For more information
Shannon McNally's website

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Purchase Black Irish

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