Album Review

Americana Singer Finds a Soulful New Sound in Muscle Shoals

Tawny Ellis - Ghosts of the Low Country

Tawny Ellis has always delivered her music with a soulful edge, but her latest EP, recorded at Muscle Shoals’ FAME studio, takes things up a notch. The title track’s studied tempo, full stops, lap steel and Hammond B3 push Ellis into a vocal space she hasn’t really visited before, with long, full-throated notes shot through with thought and emotion. You can tell the band - the Five Eight’s Sean Dunn and Patrick Ferguson, bassist Peter Hamilton, and Ellis’ regular collaborator Gio Loria - were feeling the space in which they were recording. Ellis sings “Evolve or Die” more fervently than the 2008 original, prodded by Ferguson’s drumming and Loria’s deep bass pedals. The set closes with a cover of “Walking After Midnight” whose understated vocal feels particularly distraught. It’s a nice finish to a project that’s brought out new dimensions of Ellis and Loria’s talents. [©2015 Hyperbolium]