The first woman to hold the title of Official Texas State Musician, Shelley King is a celebrated songwriter, seasoned bandleader, and superb vocalist based in Austin and touring nationally w/ a hot band & a great live show blending americana, blues, roots-rock, folk, soul & fun. -AMENShare
The music of Shelley King draws from and blends a spectrum of roots music styles, but one word succinctly describes it: soulful. Be it R&B, folk, blues, country, bluegrass or rock or combinations of and variations on those themes she delivers the goods straight from the heart with a voice thats splendidly rich and warm and as big as all outdoors. Writing a proverbial trunk full of instant hits and yet-unheard classics, as the Austin Chronicle describes her songs, King has risen from the vibrant music scene in the Texas capital city to charm fans across North America, Europe and Japan, win two Austin Music Awards, and be named the Texas State Musician for 2008.
And now she truly finds her sweet spot on her aptly titled new album Welcome Home. Recorded and co-produced with John Magnie, Tim Cook and Steve Amedée of The Subdudes rated by All Music Guide as stellar musicians of the swampy jazz-rock-blues New Orleans persuasion its a roots music tour de force where the spirit of the church meets the soul and spices of the South and the many moods and modes of the human heart.
From the opening and intoxicating sunshine of Summer Wine, Welcome Home travels the musical highways and byways below Mason-Dixon to echo the finest traditions and open new musical dimensions, thanks to a magical marriage of the multi-instrumental gifts and vocal blend of Magnie, Cook and Amedée with the splendorous humanity and emotiveness of Kings singing and songs. On tracks like the call and response of I Remember, the hymnal Welcome Home (written just after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans) and the prayerful Grain of Sand, King and company draw from the gospel oak to create spiritual sounds for the modern age. Asking Too Much and Its Starting To Rain renew classic New Orleans R&B, and I Cant Make It Easy is a swooning swamp pop slow dancer. The lilt of bluegrass meets the zest of Cajun music on Everythings All Right, and King and company summon up a spirited fais do do with the boogie-woogie of How You Make Me Feel and swing of Falling Fast before closing out with the acapella and handclaps of Welcome Home Reprise. All told, Welcome Home is a listening experience sure to be treasured and relished by all it touches for years to come.
Kings voice first rang out at the age of four in a tiny rural one-room church in her native Arkansas and then bloomed further as she grew up singing in parishes large and small across her home state and Texas. Listening to her uncles sing and play songs on their acoustic guitars by Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills & Nash also instilled in her a sense of songwriting excellence from an early age. After working her way through college by starting and running her own business, King stepped onto the club and concert stage fronting bands in Houston before moving a few years later to Austin, the longtime noted nexus of roots music authenticity and innovation as well as superlative songwriting that proved to be a welcoming home for her talents.
She had been writing songs since her early teens, and in Austin her gifts found a place to bloom without the strictures of style or commercial concerns. I just started writing for myself. I dont care what kind of song it is it might be bluegrass, it might be blues, it doesnt matter its whatever mood Im in and whatever the song needs.
After King gave a copy of her debut album Call Of My Heart to Toni Price, Austins beloved and long-reigning favorite female voice, Price recorded two of the tunes on it the title track and Who Needs Tears for her 2001 album, Midnight Pumpkin. Her version of Call Of My Heart went on the win Song of the Year at the Austin Music Awards, where in 2005 King and her group were also named Roots Music Band of the Year. Price recorded another King song, Tennessee Whiskey for her 2003 album Born to be Blue. Then after Lee Hazelwood heard Kings Texas Blue Moon on the radio during a drive through the Lone Star State, he and Nancy Sinatra cut the song for their album Nancy & Lee 3.
For her second album, The Highway, King traveled to the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama where icons like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and many others have tracked classic recordings. Her 2004 live album, Rockin the Dancehall, captured her dynamism as a performer at the famed Gruene Hall in Central Texas, and was declared an exuberant breath of air by the Austin Chronicle and named a Top Recording of the Year by Buddy magazine for its excellent, high-energy country-rock-pop-blues-gospel-soul, delivered by a tight, experienced band. Kings catalog also includes the compilation Armadillo Bootleg #1 that features live and studio tracks including a live cut from her all-woman Southern rock band Sis Deville, a collaboration with Sara Hickman and two Subdudes covers.
As the Dallas Observer says of King, Onstage, she leads her band through tange
Welcome Home (Lemonade 2009)
Armadillo Bootleg #1 (Lemonade 2008)
Rockin' the Dancehall (Lemonade 2004)
The Highway (Lemonade 2002)
Call of My Heart, (Lemonade 1998)
Shelley King, (EP Lemonade 1996)
Riverchild, self release (EP 1994)
Invictus, self released (EP 1992)
Happy Holidays From Austin, Texas, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lost Pines Texas, Hyatt Regency Music Project, 2007
Keep Punching, George Foreman Project for MD Anderson, 2007
A Hill Country Christmas, Candlelight Ranch Project 2005
Don't Mess With Texas Music Vol. 3, Texas Music Project 2005
Travelling Texas, Texas Music Herritage Foundation 2002
All I want for Christmas, Dusty Records, 2002 Sweden
Mixed Grill, Texas Music Round Up 2000
Rockin' at the Barn, Dusty Records, 1999 Sweden
Recordings of Shelley King's songs by other artists:
Call of My Heart, Toni Price (Antone's 2001)
Who Needs Tears, Toni Price (Antone's 2001
Tennessee Whiskey, Toni Price (Antone's 2004)
Texas Blue Moon, Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood (Warner International 2004)
Who Needs Tears, Heather Moon (indy 2003)
Who Needs Tears, Deb Reimer (Vancouver 2005)
Robyn's Song, Nicole Gilbert, Butterfly Wine (indy 2004)
Running Out of Blue, Karen Mal & Chris Irwin (The Orchard 2001)
Open Up To Me, co-write Sara Hickman & Shelley King 2007
One Way Ticket to Austin, Jessica Shepherd (Skylark 2000)
The Getaway, Floramay Holliday co-write w/ Shelley(Roseneath 2005)
Out on the Town, Floramay Holliday co-write w/ Shelley (Roseneath 2005)
Walk On, Jameylee, Heirloom (Chattanooga 2008)
Set length varies.
90 minute set preferred, however, longer sets can be accommodated. She doesn't usually do many cover songs but if the mood strikes she may toss in some CCR, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly or even Hank Williams Sr.