Feature excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
Rarely has an act generated a more polarized response from fans and industry pundits than Shedaisy. Selling more than 1.7 million copies of its 1999 Lyric Street debut, "The Whole Shebang," the trio struck a chord with country consumers, but many critics have been less than kind.
With their new release, "Knock on the Sky," sisters Kristyn, Kassidy, and Kelsi Osborn are hoping not only for strong sales but also a little respect. Kristyn, who either wrote or co-wrote every song on the record, says she and her siblings took their time on the album and are happy with the results. "It had to be better, more mature, and different than the first one. That was what the three of us focused on," the blonde sibling says. "It reflects a lot more maturity and growth."
On "Knock on the Sky," the sisters expanded their involvement in the creative process, co-producing the record with Dann Huff. "Musically, we became much more intelligent when it came to being in the studio and knowing what we want," Osborn says. "Critically, people have been a little bit more open to it than they were [with] the first one, and we hope our fans are just as responsive, because they made the first album so successful."
It's been three years since the release of "The Whole Shebang," but the sisters have been anything but idle. They released a Christmas album, "Brand New Year," in 2000, and a remix album, "The Whole Shebang - All Mixed Up," in the fall of 2001. Osborn admits that taking time between studio albums generated some speculation.
"We've heard a lot of rumors -- that we didn't have material, that the label was making us wait, and none of it is true," she says. "The truth was it took over two years to get through five [radio] singles on the first album ... Also, the label built in time for the writing to be as good as it could possibly be ... And they were being very sensitive to my personal life, allowing me time to get my stuff together and get my head in the right place to go out and promote a record. I appreciate that."
The personal issue Osborn alludes to is her recent divorce from husband Joel Stevenett. She admits the experience colored the songs she wrote for the album, though not always the songs one would expect. "People automatically assume that songs that sound like they may be angry [were about the divorce]. They have nothing to do with our relationship," Osborn explains, adding that she does not have any animosity about the divorce.
The album is lyrically meatier than its predecessors. The beautiful ballad "Rush," written by Osborn and Marcus Hummon, was featured in Hummon's play Warrior about the life of Olympic legend Jim Thorpe. There are also lighter moments, such as the catty, tongue-in-cheek "Everybody Wants You," written about an artist Osborn declines to name. There's also "Repent," which shows the sisters delivering a high-energy song with unique lyrics.
Osborn says the more vulnerable songs on "Knock on the Sky" came from her breakup. "'I Wish I Were the Rain' is so difficult for me to listen to," Osborn admits of another song she penned with Hummon. "I don't know when I'll be able to come to terms with that one, but it is one of my favorite things on there."
As someone who values her privacy, it sometimes feels awkward for Osborn to pour her heart out in her songs. "It's bizarre. I'm almost contradicting myself because my life is private, but I know that this is what I do best," says Osborn. "My role in this group is to write," she observes, noting that what she wrote for this album is "really revealing. It hits close to home, and that's what is scary."
Excerpted from the June 29, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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