Caroline Horn
selected articles

"American Roots Music"
Martha Stewart Living

"New Spins on Standards"
Martha Stewart Living

"LoveCat's Label a Litter of International Music"

"Chicks Hatch a Winning Pitch Plan"

"Songs for Folks and Angels"
An Interview with Odetta
WIM: Women in Music Quarterly

"Dipping Into the Strange Well"
An Interview with Jane Siberry
WIM: Women in Music Quarterly

"From Beethoven to the Big Top"
An Interview with Linda Hudes
WIM: Women in Music Quarterly

CD Review: Ani DiFranco

CD Review: Patty Larkin
Red = Luck

CD Review: Shannon Curfman
Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions

CD Review: Leona Naess

CD REVIEW: Shannon Curfman
Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions (Arista)
By Caroline Horn

Shannon Curfman is not your typical teen star, dancing across a stage in a sequined outfit and headset microphone. The girl is gritty, and she wants to rock you in the classic way—with a voice and a wailing guitar.

Close your eyes while listening to the confident aggression in tunes like "Few and Far Between" or "True Friends" and you would swear the singer is more than 14 years old. You'd also swear you heard shades of a young Janis Joplin or Bonnie Raitt. Like those prodigious musicians, she's absorbed things early.

Maybe she knows this. In "Playing with Fire," Curfman's smokin' tribute to legendary guitarists Robert Johnson and Jimi Hendrix, she asks, "Who's that moving through my veins/Must be spirits/Of those who've gone before/Got their fingers on my strings." And even the album's title is plucked from the lyrics of a clearly influential Sheryl Crow song, "Hard to Make a Stand," which she includes here.

But Curfman has her own style. She pushes and bends her voice to evoke everything from cynicism to wistfulness on these 11 songs, 7 of which she co-wrote. Her guitar solos smolder with a combination of attitude and restraint. Supporting these talents is a versatile band that helps her move seamlessly from rock to blues to funk to pop and back again.

Shannon Curfman is too young to date, drink or drive. And yet, this impressive debut shows that when she's standing at the mic with a guitar strapped on, she's an old soul. That's real girl power.

© 2000 Caroline Horn. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.