From the moment her debut set's opener and first single, "Down and Dirty," begins, it's clear that Shannon McNally possesses enough musical breadth and emotional depth to ensure that she'll be around

From the moment her debut set's opener and first single, "Down and Dirty," begins, it's clear that Shannon McNally possesses enough musical breadth and emotional depth to ensure that she'll be around for the long haul. The set's roots-flavored arrangements showcase an artist with a heart full of country and a soul full of blues. And with head held high and both feet firmly on the ground, McNally writes earthy, self-assured tales. Bob Aniello's upbeat production widens McNally's audience even more by adding a dash of jazz, an echo of folk, and a healthy helping of acoustic rock to her mix. One sure sign of McNally's artistic maturity is her restraint: she is sometimes wistful but never weepy, seductive without being lewd. It may seem like a reach to compare a newcomer to a veteran like Bonnie Raitt, but after hearing McNally's swaggering "Bolder Than Paradise" or catchy "Bitter Blue," the comparison seems plausible.—WH