“Well you woke me from a deep sleep,” sings Shannon Whitworth on her mouthful of a first track, “Run to Roll on Home.” That same, nameless “you” plays phantom throughout Water Bound, inspiring and inhibiting the second solo effort from this Biscuit Burners founding member.
Like any romance, Whitworth’s opens on a hopeful, breezy note. The banjo-as-backbone of “Spring is Here” and the fedora-and-ukulele donning Jason Mraz feel of “Mermaid Song” paint an on-the-surface sunny portrait. As one of her self-proclaimed favorites, “Mermaid Song” serves Whitworth well.
Her subsequent string of anthemic, accusatory tunes inspire and confuse. “Wrong Kind of Man” offers an almost-gospel intro, hand claps and tambourine breathing life into Whitworth’s candid (and seemingly autobiographical) lyrics: “She loved a man who never cared.” She revisits that theme with “Don’t Lie,” but wears out its welcome on the walk-out-the-door “Taking It Hard.”
Long runner “I’ve Got the Blues” redeems the disc with its raw approach. Whitworth’s lush, stick-to-your-bones voice continues to dominate on the closer, “Am I Stranger.” “I tend to complicate,” she once again laments to a lover. Yet it’s really quite simple: Whitworth and her stellar vocals stand beautifully on their own.
Water Bound is out now on Thirty Tigers Records.