Michelle Shocked Trilogy Due in June
The two-time Grammy nominee will present the “JAMS Project,” a series of producer collaborations, which continues the "American Trilogy" concept of her first three Mercury albums.
The three new albums -- titled Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; The Memphis Minnies; and Baby Mine -- chronicle a tumultuous time of life -- including her recent divorce. This isn’t to imply that the songs are bitter. In fact, to the contrary they’re executed with humor, imagination, irony and empowerment -- and in voices most have never heard from Michelle. There’s rock and after-hours blues and hardcore punk and twang shading her sly lyrics.
The first of these albums, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, is a rock album, full of guitar and guts, produced by man-to-watch Dusty Wakeman (Dwight Yoakam, Anne McCue.) The story of what she’s gone through is in there, but so are a lot of other stories and emotions. Early comparisons have been drawn to Richard Thompson’s Shoot out the Lights with the chromatic eclecticism of an album like Los Lobos’ Kiko.
The second album titled The Memphis Minnies was inspired by Shocked’s devotion to ‘30s/’40s country blues matriarch Memphis Minnie. Guest artists who contributed to the project include Rickie Lee Jones, Lucinda Williams, Alice Stuart, Lydia Pense, Victoria Williams, Anne McCue and Janet Robin, with more still coming on board. Producer is Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams.)
And the third album, Baby Mine, is a Western swing twist on Disney music produced by Nick Forster (Hot Rize, etown.) For young and old alike, the album is a collaboration with Disney artist David Willardson, with whom she will combine performances of painting and music.
According to Shocked, "I never really intended to release three albums at one time. But I do tend to think in concepts of trilogies, tryptichs, trios. It seems like a complete cycle to me."
And you're hearing it here first: There are three more albums right behind these, completely different than these, including gospel/electronica and Latin/blues and New Orleans style jazz. She says, "You can't stop creative momentum. When it hits, you gotta roll with it..."
Shocked is set to perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin in March, date and venue TBA. She will also speak on the conference’s Artist Panel, also to be TBA.