Amy LaVere & Shannon McNally
Chasing the Ghost –Rehearsal Sessions
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
You can trace this match made in roots singer/songwriter heaven to the Dickinson family. Late patriarch/producer/auteur Jim Dickinson worked with both upright bassist/vocalist Amy LaVere and guitarist/vocalist Shannon McNally. But they hadn’t met until Jim’s son Luther (North Mississippi Allstars) formed the acoustic traditional folk/country band The Wandering and invited both women to join. That began a friendship that resulted in LaVere and McNally uniting for their recent “Chasing the Ghost” tour. Rehearsals for the jaunt were taped with this six track EP as the result. Don’t let the homemade gestation deter you from a wonderful, loose set that’s as limber and live as you’d expect from the recording’s humble origins. The women trade lead vocals and both harmonize on choruses for some tunes that have been previously recorded but really shine in this comfy setting. Drums and extra guitar provide additional heft and fill out the sound for country/folk/singer songwriter fare that flaunts its Southern roots. McNally’s husky voice counters LaVere’s more girlish but far from innocent approach for 30 minutes of music you wish would be twice as long. For that you’ll need to catch them live. But until then, this is a terrific teaser that finds both frontwomen at the top of their game.