SHELLEY SHORT, "Captain Wild Horse (Rides The Heart of Tomorrow)"

Shelley Short, an art school dropout who now calls Chicago home, is a relatively unexposed singer/songstress, which means she might have a tough time making a dent into what has become an increasingly

Shelley Short, an art school dropout who now calls Chicago home, is a relatively unexposed singer/songstress, which means she might have a tough time making a dent into what has become an increasingly saturated pool of talented women and their love for traditional country. She has a few tricks up her sleeve that should help her get noticed, or at least distinguished, not including her ties to M. Ward, either.

Listeners will notice her voice is very high, very child-like at times. It might be off-putting at first, but like Joanna Newsom, you soon forget about it and start to find her rather endearing. What complements her voice so well are the song arrangements, woven through with banjo, piano, ukulele and gorgeous violin lines. Classic, yet contemporary sounding.

Short is a storyteller of nonchalant musings on the everyday, a nice break from the usual downer fare we are accustomed to. Overall, "Captain Wild Horses" is a fantastic album, and suggests that axing those art school plans was a smart move indeed. -- Michael D. Ayers