Gig Seeker Pro


Waxhaw, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2018

Waxhaw, North Carolina, United States
Established on Jan, 2018
Solo Americana Country




"Gifted Artist Shealee Releases Debut Album, with Encouragement from a Likely Source: Dad"

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A Charlotte bartender who lives in a 300-square-foot house – by choice – with a 60-pound pit/lab rescue named Ace is ready to play her cards, and hopes to double down with her debut album.

Her request is simple and sincere: just listen.

Shealee, who sheds light on love, life and loss in her first full-length effort "Head to the Stone," is following her father Craig Cousino's sweet encouragement:

"Give this your all, with no distractions -- let's put life on hold until you do what you were destined to do: SHINE."

"My dad gets me and my music matches me and it's easy to see that I am an independent and inherent caregiver," conveyed the blossoming artist. "I give a million percent in order to get five in return and it is reflected in my songs."

Head to the Stone is aptly named, given that she has persevered since being a Jehovah's Witness 10 years removed, where secular success is considered secondary if not frowned upon.

"From now on, I will sing to release and relate. I have a lot to say and it's been bottled up for way too long," Shealee said. "Granted, I am much better at telling others' stories than my own, yet I communicate through my music and I truly believe there is hope and joy in this album."

The album was recorded at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Head to the Stone blends country, folk, soul, with a little jazz and blues thrown in for good measure.

Shealee's lyrics show her ability to use phrases and words that dramatize a feeling or redirect the emotional flow of a song; Head to the Stone also carries listeners over the sharp corners of our emotions and delivers a pop-inflected "oooh" to distract them momentarily, adding a joyous element to a string of depressing reflections.

"It's about accepting who we are with all of our imperfections internally and externally," Shealee says. "It's a journey through life's ebbs and flows, moving through the trials and tribulations to the delicate and joyous moments in time."

Opening with "Susanna", Shealee paints a poignant tribute to songwriting. The second song leads the listener into the galloping and cannily minor chord tune of the title track "Head to the Stone", a story about gravediggers.

The following songs then move through the album breathlessly like a slow-burn, shuffling through her bright and brisk guitar lines that explore the theme of constancy and loyalty, especially on her second to last song "Constant Lover".

In the middle and exhibiting built-in diversity, Shealee shifts gears with an up-tempo country folk tune on "Gnome Song," a story that looks at the ways we deal with our shortcomings and disappointments in life.

"I am who I am and my life is what it is and hopefully, what I want it to be. I opened the doors to my heart and soul and hope it resonates and brings some sweet resolve to the mess down here." - Cision

"Head to the Stone Album Review"

I wasn't sure what to expect from this bluegrass award winner as she decamped to Muscle Shoals to record country, but kicking things off with a heartfelt tribute to Susanna Clark, there was nothing left to do but sit back and see where it all went next. Left field in a Bobbie Gentry kind of way, Shealee has it going on at every level. A wondrous ‘debut', this is the kind of stuff that brings to the mainstream and does it with class. Well done. - Chris Spector


Head to the Stone Released May 17, 2019



Shealee can’t contain the music that’s in her heart and soul. Her soaring vocals rush out of her in a musical torrent, flowing over the rough edges of love, loss, and life. Shealee carries us over the sharp corners of our emotions in her instinctive and ingenious power to control her phrasing, to deliver a pop-inflected “oooh” to distract us momentarily and to add a joyous element to a string of depressing reflections or to weave exalted honesty in matter-of-fact vocals. Underlying Shealee’s powerfully delivered vocals is her even more straight-to-the-heart songwriting. Shealee shares her stunning vocals and emotionally fluid lyrics on her debut album Head to the Stone.

Shealee comes to music and songwriting naturally since she grew up in a family of musicians. Even though she fell asleep at nap time as a toddler to her father’s rock and roll band rehearsing in the basement of the family home, it took several years before the Michigan native, who now lives in North Carolina, to start writing songs and to embrace her own desire to sing and make her own music. “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to play music for a living,” she says. Although she started playing violin when she was five, she didn’t pick up the guitar or start singing until her late teens. “I started writing songs and, eventually, I decided to play and sing at open mics. I also started playing guitar for myself, and that changed the way I thought about my music and my singing and songwriting.” Shealee met Tracy Horton and they formed a bluegrass and roots music band, Henry River Honey. The band successfully toured regionally for three years, and won the award for Best Bluegrass/Americana Band at the 2016 Carolina Music Awards.

After three years with Henry River Honey, Shealee left to make a solo album. She had never stopped writing, and she had an album’s worth of songs. Packing up her bags and her music, she trekked to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record Head to the Stone, which she self-produced in collaboration with Will McFarlane. The music blends country, folk, soul, with a little jazz and blues thrown in for good measure. Underneath it all flow Shealee’s way with a lyric and her ability to use a phrase or a word to dramatize a feeling or to redirect the emotional flow of a song. On “Constant Lover,” a slow-burning waltz with a bright guitar line that explores the theme of constancy and loyalty, she delivers a nice little twist on the theme as she sings in the chorus over the cascading notes of a pedal steel guitar: “I loved you even when you know I shouldn’t have/You were my weakness until my dying day.” She captures cannily the can’t-live-with-you-can’t-live-without-you irony of a lifelong love.

“Susanna” is a poignant tribute to songwriting and the muse’s writers call upon for their inspiration. While Shealee doesn’t think of herself as prolific writer, she feels like the “Muses are up in the atmosphere and the songs are waiting to be grabbed onto. Sometimes I am driving down the road and an idea or a line will come,” she muses. “I don’t try to force a song. I think about it all day long; sometimes for weeks or months. I have to wait for a song to tell me what it wants to be.” On “Susanna” she sings of the many “Susanna’s” particularly Susanna Clark who has inspired writers from Guy Clark to Townes Van Zandt.

Shealee describes the title track as one she “let sit long enough,” and it became a song. The brisk pace of song belies its subject—grave digging and cemeteries. Shealee cannily turns a minor chord musical structure into a galloping, rolling, tune that tells the story of a grave digger who toils in the graveyard to lay a dead one’s “head to the stone” but who nevertheless pauses to pray for the soul of the body he’s burying: “I pray you make it home to Jesus.”

Shealee is a bright presence on the music scene. She tells compelling stories, moving listeners with her melodies and her stories and shining a brilliant light with her debut album Head to the Stone.




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