Billy Shaddox: I Melt, I Howl

BillyShaddox_IMeltIHowl70s-pop tinged country, rock and folk

Billy Shaddox’s 2013 solo release, Golden Fate, threaded an Americana base with double-tracked vocals that echoed the country-inflected early ‘70s soft-rock of acts like Lobo, America and Gallery. His second album follows a similar path, mixing unabashed pop with rootsier fare that moves the banjo and guitar forward. Shaddox’s voice is a flexible instrument that sings dreamily on the opening title track, but adds a subtle husk for the shuffle “Feels Like Home.” The latter features stomping bass and a terrific electric piano solo before the accompaniment breaks down and reconstitutes itself.

There’s a taste of power pop in “My Hands Don’t Lie” and hints of Badfinger and Elliot Smith in the summery “Fireflies,” but the modern productions keep from turning these songs into nostalgia. He glances backward for a reference point, but keeps his view straight ahead as he sings “you can never look back, and the future is your friend” on “Golden Coast.” When Shaddox howls, it’s optimistic and upbeat, with rising melodies and lyrics that question limitations. He’s as comfortable with raucous electric guitar as he is with fingerpicked acoustic, and his arrangements are incredibly dynamic. This is a real sleeper! [©2015 Hyperbolium]

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