Review: Lindsay May “Shimmer”

Lindsay May “Shimmer”

16 Mar, 2012 Matt Warnock

Though it is mostly known for its cold winters, beautiful landscape and world-class hockey players, Canada has also produced some of the most successful bands and musicians of the past century. From Rush to Nickelback to Justin Bieber and Celine Dion, Canada has no shortage of talent on the international musical stage.  One of the categories where Canadian musicians shine brightest is female Country artists.  From K.D. Lang to Terry Clark and of course Shania Twain, the Great White North has produced some of the greatest women on the modern Country music scene.  One of the newest names on this list is west-coast native Lindsay May, and her 2012 album Shimmer is a collection of 10 well-written, emotionally performed Country tracks that are not only radio friendly, but engaging on a deep level at the same time.

One of the reasons that Shimmer is so engaging from an audience point of view is that May brings a strong level of diversity to her songwriting and performances.  There are toe-tapping, get up and dance number such as “Spinning 45s,” where May and company lay down a powerful groove that, when mixed with the rhythms of the vocal line, combine to be an energy inducing track that will get even the biggest wallflower up and on the dance floor.  There are also medium-tempo tunes such as “Hang Around” that are just as fun to get up and dance to with a partner as they are to sing along to while driving down a long stretch of highway.

On the other side of the spectrum, May lays down some intense slow tracks that showcase her powerful vocals and ability to find the utmost emotional context of any lyric and melodic phrase.  Songs such as “Stick Around” bring to light May’s slower side, one that brings to the forefront a slower tempo, but with the same intensity as her faster tracks.  Her ability to keep an emotional quality, and high intensity level, no matter where the song tempo takes her, is a quality that helps May stand out among the crowd, giving her songs personality and a connectivity that lifts her songwriting to the next level.

Another good example of this approach, and another 6/8 slow Country groove tune, is “Star in the Sky.”  Here, May digs deep into the Country ballad genre to produce one of the biggest highlights of the record.  There is something very powerful about a Country ballad that has endured those tunes in the public’s mind for almost a century.  And when they’re performed with the soft, yet powerful, touch that May injects inter her vocal lines, these ballads reach new levels of enjoyment with the audience.  As well as understanding the importance of featuring slower tracks such as this on the record, May also knows when to bring in vocal harmonies to highlight specific lyrical lines and musical moments during important moments on the song.  On this track, the background vocals are never done, but they are used to add weight to specific lines that, when combined with the musical accompaniment, draw the listener in to the melody, leading them along the song’s musical journey until the last note fades from the speakers.

Overall, Shimmer is a very strong release for Canadian Country singer, songwriter and performer Lindsay May.  It is releases like this that remind people of the deep musical heritage that Canadian artists have developed over the years, and it goes a long way to building May’s reputation as a Country artist to watch out for in coming years.

Reviewed by Matthew Warnock
Rating:  5 Stars (out of 5)