Shellee Coley is a Texas-based singer-songwriter that has released three full length albums. Her current focus is a 5 song book of musical meditations called The Becoming Project that is being released one song or “chapter” at a time by the independent label Red Tree Music Group. Essentially, Shellee has created a unique style that blurs the boundaries between genres and categories. There are recognizable influences from classic songwriters like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Lennon & McCartney and Bob Dylan, as well as from some more current acts. Coley is able to absorb them all, and filter them through her own sensibilities to produce a sound in her own special voice. And what a voice!
Known for her powerful and evocative singing, it has continued to improve over each and every new release to a maturity that is mesmerizing and, and can quite simply be described as intoxicating. She has polished her jewel of a voice to a shiny luster that I find totally irresistible, but you will too. I can’t listen to her latest song “Story Like This”, without being completely and utterly spellbound.
This song is generally mellow and low-key (with a notable exceptions during the uplifting bridges and choruses) as Shellee Coley uses a less-is-more approach in the instrumentation anchored by her stunning voice that emphasizes her sophisticated and eloquent lyrics and songwriting craft. The impression it creates is one of an intimate performance in your living room with choice organic accompaniment, and sweet layered harmonies.
That’s not to say that “Story Like This” is a one-dimensional and monotonous folk song; on the contrary, the sequence is interspersed with full-depth production and layered instruments like keyboards, strings, electric guitars and percussion. Overall the track is cerebral, and meant to be carefully listened to and contemplated.
A quick glimpse through her catalog reveals that Shellee Coley has always written beautiful songs that have come directly from her heart, and it seems The Becoming Project continues to bare more of her soul and mindset.
It can also be noted “Story Like This” does not break the spellbinding paradigm of “The Knowing”. Though different, both these songs are fairly uniform in their overall intent, feel and vibe. Shellee finds the timeless and universal in common experiences. And she’s got the sense to trust the power of her songs and her evocative voice to carry the message to the people.
I don’t have time to write a long, overblown review, just as much as you don’t have the time or desire to read them, so take my word for it, grab anything you see by Shellee Coley and rejoice! Some artists just have it.
Shellee Coley is an incredible talent with a unique and enthralling voice – that probably deserves to be in another less fickle musical era – and all the chops to go with it. If you have heard Shelley’s music before, and it blew you away, a “Story Like This” is no different and presents yet another sumptuous musical treat.