Originally from the New York area, blues-roots singer Shannon McNally has lived a little bit of everywhere, from Austin to New Orleans, before choosing to settle down in North Mississippi. She has garnered national attention for her most recent release Small Town Talk, an album which celebrates the late Louisiana songwriter Bobby Charles, and has been extremely active in both the Memphis and North Mississippi music scenes. Her appearance at the 40th Anniversary concert of the Memphis Recording Academy chapter included a rousing rendition of “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of the City” and a couple of Bobby Charles compositions from her recent album.
Mississippi-based Shannon McNally has had a big year, garnering a lot of national attention for her new album Small Town Talk , which consists of covers of some of the superb songs by the late Louisiana songwriter Bobby Charles. This year she kicked off Beale Street Music Festival 2013 just as the rain ended, warming the hearts of a freezing but enthusiastic cadre of fans.
Mississippi-based singer/songwriter Shannon McNally recently released her latest album Small Town Talk, a tribute to the songs of Louisiana’s legendary Bobby Charles, and to commemorate the event, she held an in-store performance and autograph signing at Memphis’ Spin Street Music on Tuesday, 4/23/13. Joined by Memphis guitarist Joe Restivo, McNally performed four songs from the album, including “But I Do”, one of Bobby Charles’ most enduring songs, made famous by the late Clarence “Frogman” Henry. Small Town Talk came out April 16 in stores, and exists on CD and vinyl. It can also be purchased as a digital download from iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/small-town-talk/id616312177.
After RL Boyce finished with his performance, he was followed by Duwayne Burnside, RL Burnside’s son, who was joined on stage by the young singer-songwriter Shannon McNally and drummer Dexter Burnside. McNally, originally from Austin, Texas, relocated to Holly Springs a few years ago, and released her most recent album Small Town Talk this month, featuring the songs of the late Louisiana singer and songwriter Bobby Charles. The album exists in both vinyl and compact disc versions, and is being distributed by Memphis-based Select-O-Hits Music Distribution. According to the Juke Joint Festival schedule, Duwayne was supposed to have been joined by his brother Gary, but he told me after the performance that Gary couldn’t make it.
Bobby Charles, born Robert Charles Guidry, first came to prominence in the 1950’s with a smash R & B hit called “See You Later Alligator.” Years of hits and releases followed, until 2010, when Charles began working on an album with Louisiana legends Dr. John and Sonny Landreth. Sadly, Charles would not live to see the release of the album, which has appropriately been named Timeless. Framed by holiday anthems celebrating Fats Domino’s birthday and Halloween, the album features Charles’ trademark songwriting skills across a number of topics. “Where Did All The Love Go” and “When Love Turns to Hate” deal with failing relationships, while “Clash of Cultures” and “Take Back My Country” are patriotic. “nobody’s Fault But My Own” is a New Orleans piano romp that wouldn’t sound out of place on Dr. John’s 1972 album Gumbo, and “Rollin’ Round Heaven” seems oddly prophetic. Bobby Charles’ album Timeless is a fitting bookend to a man whose career spanned 60 years of music in Louisiana, an artist who truly deserves the sobriquet “timeless”.