On “Still In Louisiana” from Shelly Waters‘ new album Swamp Pop Princess, she sings of her former home to a country/cajun waltz backdrop:
“My heart’s still in Louisiana, while my feet in this great wide world have touched, I can’t recall another single place I ever missed so much”
Based in Charleston, South Carolina these days, Waters association with Lowcountry blues impresario Gary Erwin has resulted in their musical collaboration on stage and now with this Erwin-produced batch of tunes.
Waters is one of those vocalists who exhibits effortless control of her instrument, never over-singing as so many female blues belters are wont to do. She’s not really a classic blues singer, even, but more of a Karla Bonoff/Linda Rondstadt type, a strong singer with a good sense of what works for her voice.
The songs here are all original compositions and all over the place musically, something else that sets her apart. There are some I could imagine coming from, say, Lucinda Williams (“Diamond”), and others that give away classic roots such as the title track, which cops an attitude straight from 50’s doo-wop complete with a honking sax solo. Waters dips back into her Louisiana roots again on “Good Times (Let ‘Em Roll)” and the Meters-inspired “Funky Attitude” with unsurprisingly groovy results that sound a bit like the more danceable Donna The Buffalo tunes.
As good as the tunes on this album turned out, one suspects that with a full band in a live setting, Waters would indeed be the “Swamp Pop Princess”.