Shellee Coley, The Hems Warehouse Live Green Room February 23, 2012
Houston singer songwriter Shellee Coley's fans packed Warehouse Live's Green Room Friday to celebrate her brand-new, just-released album Where it Began. Performing before an audience of family, friends, old fans, and new fans of all ages, she brought a comforting feeling everyone could relate to, like a slice of warm apple pie.
Over the past three years since the release of her first EP, The Girl the Stencil Drew, Coley has acquired many fans of all backgrounds who have fallen for her relatable lyrics and down-to-earth style.
She connects with her audience over honest songs of happiness, love and sorrow in her personal life --- not to mention her firm grasp of musicianship. Collee and her band sounded impeccable live, and in fact, with the full range of instruments used on the album in view, sounded better than recorded.
Austin band The Hems started the show right around 8:30 p.m., capturing people with their minimalist country-roots tunes. This two-piece band showed excellent musical chops, breaking out into a bluegrass tangent and working seamlessly at hitting all the toe-tapping chords they needed to hit.
They brought a fan base of their own to this show, with several people singing along to their last song played called "Novaleen."
Colee played Where It Began in its entirety, sharing anecdotal background stories with each song, unraveling her album as a story, or a window into her life. She did a couple of covers too, neither one surprising -- "Blackbird" by The Beatles and a soft version of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." Folk Family Revival singer Mason Lankford joined her for the latter, which Collee said is her favorite Dylan song.
The rest of the Folk Family Revival came onstage to join Collee for her last couple of songs. Castle Lights' Tyler Susuras also sang a couple of songs with her, including one called "Trees," in which, with much heart, Collee shared how she felt her passed aunt was with her in spirit when she wrote the song.
What I like most about Where It Began is Coley's honest musicianship. She is clearly is at home with what she shares with her audience.
During the show, she mentioned that she likes to "let the song be what the song wants, and not showcase itself." The members of Collee's band are also excellent musicians to supplement her work.
Note: Slide guitars have always kind of fascinated me. It's a distinct sound that may actually get lost on a record, but seeing it played live is an added bonus.
What truly sets Shellee Coley apart on her new album is her honest lyricism. Her songs aren't about cryptic personal struggles or lost love, as other singer-songwriters in her genre may be writing about. Her songs are simply about relatable points in her life.
It's people's music -- grown people's music.
Personal Bias: Maybe I'm a lil' young to appreciate this as I should.
The Crowd: All kinds of friendly folk!
Overheard in the Crowd: Love and support from Shellee Coley's friends and family.
Random Notebook Dump: The stage lighting was terrible-looking for this lovely show.
Dogwood Tree Honey Twist Got It Bad Keep Your Wedding Gown Cheyenne About That Time Dreams Will Do Novaleen
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Blackbird All I Want Cotton Dress Conversations with Z Green Same Old Lovers Trees Waiting Still Broken Kiss Don't Think Twice, It's All Right Where It Began Home to You Last Word