Review: Pamela Wyn Shannon - Courting Autumn (2007)


pws_autumnartist: Pamela Wyn Shan­non
release: Court­ing Autumn
format: CD-R, MP3
year of release: 2007
label: Girl­henge (CD-R), Woven Wheat Whis­pers (MP3)
dur­a­tion: 54:39

Pamela Wyn Shan­non is an Amer­ican singer/songwriter of Span­ish and Irish des­cent, and with Court­ing Autumn she presents her second album, this being the follow-up of Nature’s Bride from 2001. As the titles sug­gest, Pamela has a strong nature sym­bol­ism going on, and this is cast into a form together with musical influ­ences from both tra­di­tional and psy­che­delic folk artists. I haven’t heard the pre­vi­ous album before, but this one cer­tainly is a very con­vin­cing piece of mod­ern folk.

Like I said, I dis­cern dif­fer­ent folk influ­ences through­out the whole album. The most obvi­ous is per­haps the typ­ical mod­ern folk-revival sound of the female vari­ety. Pamela has a warm and pleas­ant voice (and accent), and her melod­ies com­bine won­der­fully with the music. Tra­di­tional folk is very present as well, not only in the obvi­ous way in “Ca’ the Yowes” and “Cold Blows the Wind” - which are both excel­lent, by the way - but also just in the gen­eral flow of her own com­pos­i­tions. A slight psy­che­delic touch is present in “Ca’ the Yowes” as well, with some excel­lent sitar work. The strongest cur­rent through­out the album, though, is a mel­an­choly autumn atmo­sphere, expressed in the lyr­ics, melody, and the gor­geous string arrange­ments (by vari­ous guest musi­cians). The title track, “Pip­kin”, and “Neth­er­world” are most rep­res­ent­at­ive: all moody tracks for the dark­en­ing days. Other high­lights are “Tis Ramb­le­time in Ambleside” and “Ves­per­tine Autumn”, which con­trast by adding a higher tempo and a great fin­ger­pick­ing style into the mix. Both are won­der­fully swirl­ing tracks, remind­ing me of Nick Drake some­what. The album ends with “Fare-Thee-Forelorn”, a final mel­an­choly piece of spoken word and strings.

This album is extremely con­sist­ent in its high qual­ity from start to fin­ish, and any­one with a soft spot for female singer/songrwriter work and/or mel­an­choly nature folk should def­in­itely check this artist out.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. O Bit­ter­sweet Dear Madeline (4:01)
2. Tis Ramb­letide in Ambleside (4:29)
3. Court­ing Autumn (5:14)
4. Wool­gath­er­ing (3:37)
5. Ca’ the Yowes (5:07)
6. September’s Way (5:27)
7. Pip­kin (5:31)
8. Michael­mas­tide (3:32)
9. Neth­er­world (5:27)
10. Ver­sper­tine Autumn (4:31)
11. Cold Blows the Wind (3:39)
12. Fare-Thee-Forelorn (4:04)