Not too long ago, an old sound guy told Rocks Off that if people would turn it down just a little it would be louder than anything else, a suddenly startling quiet. Every time we get ahold of a new release from Woodlands studio/label Red Tree, we get a sample of that wonderful quiet sincerity. Shellee Coley's six-song EP The Girl the Stencil Drew is right up there with previous singer-songwriter Red Tree releases like Kathryn Hallberg's No Surprise and Red Tree co-owner Jeff Armstreet's own We're Alright Down Here. Like on those releases, Coley's soft voice is a balm for the cynical soul and a respite from the pain of having to try and be so damn cool all the time.
Do you remember what it was like in 1995 when Jewel released Pieces of You? Amid the power pop of Silverchair, Matthew Sweet and Weezer came a simple set of songs from Alaska that ground everyone to a halt just for a chance to warm there hands by the pleasant fire of a sad siren. Coley follows that tradition with her songs of falling apart and coming back together again.
There is in all the music a mixture of irony and self-deprecation, but underneath it all is love and kind of music that only makes a person feel good to be alive. The arrangements are top-notch, the music strong and proud, but this album is sold on the on the poetry of its lyrics and the sad happiness of their delivery. We highly recommend The Girl the Stencil Drew as the soundtrack for all the moments that matter in your life.
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7 p.m. tonight at Dosey Doe Coffee Shop, 25911 I-45 N., The Woodlands, 281-367-3774 or www.doseydoe.com. $10, or $15 for the show and a copy of Coley's CD.