Written by Eddie Ferranti

The phrase “blast from the past” usually involves a good experience in life.  Recently for Rose and I the spectacular blast was in the form of sweetheart Shelley King.  It had been too many years ago that we visited Dan Electros guitar bar on a rainy evening to catch her for the first time.  The night turned in to a gully washer pour down type of rain that limited the crowd to six people.  It was getting dangerous to drive, but Shelley politely asked us if we were going to leave.  We said we came to see her and she put on a killer show like the place was packed.  Fast forward to a nice crowd at the super cool McGonigels Mucky Duck on a clear evening. King delivered yet again with a tight trio reminding us why we dug her in the first place.

Shelley King has been an Ambassodor of sorts representing the sound and attitude of Austin, Tx.  She has been at it for over twenty years and eight albums.  To say she brings a swagger to the stage is putting it mildly. Tonight she held court with Michigan native and long time Austin resident Sarah Brown on electric bass. Marvin Dykhuis on jamming lead guitars showed his Austin chops big time. She joked how amazing it was that it was not raining in Houston because it always does for her shows!  “Walk On” busted out of the gate with her growling drawl and Dykhuis’ shredding.  The mood was set and early on there was a smooth chemistry between these three pros.  Chestnuts flowed like “Tennessee Whiskey” (pun intended!), “California” about a dream where her loved one left her, touching “Robyn’s Song” which was a heartfelt one to her sister, and “Falling Fast”.

Her big and brassy mama persona she brings to the stage is so down home cool.  She has a way with words that make you feel like you have known her for years.  “Stormin’ in the South”- about rain of course- showcased her rubber face of emotion rolling into rollicking “Texas Style Zydeco” which turned up the heat. Dykhuis reminded me so much of Casper Rawls and Champ Hood whom he used to play with in the Threadgill’s Troubadours.  Man can bring it and Shelley gave him ample room to burn it up.

The Texan roots music bonanza continued on gems “Things You Do”, title track off her last CD “Building a Fire”, stirring Levon Helm’s “When I Go Away” written by Larry Campbell, and gospel blues strong pipes “It’s Starting to Rain”!  King has always loved the Subdudes and did them justice on her “Summer Wine” a song written about them finger printing her new black guitar.The strong night closed out with hurricane gospel tune “Welcome Home” about living a life of kindness and 2002’s Austin Music Awards Best Song winner “Call of My Heart” which Toni Price has sung for years. Shelley’s voice is stronger than ever full of blues sensibility touched with sultry sexuality.  Very professional performance where she knew how to get to the point of her tunes and let the music do the talking.  It was so nice to revisit why we love Austin music so much-heartfelt soulful lyrical music backed up by awesome guitar picking. King is hoping to have a new record out by Christmas.  Let’s hope so she can bring us another present to enjoy…….if it does not rain of course!  Go support  the world of LIVE music people!
Eddie “Edge” Ferranti
Senior Editor
Houston Music Review