Whitney Shay began fronting a band and singing blues and jazz in 2009. In 2012 she released her debut recording “Soul Tonic”. She performs over 200 dates a year and is a four-time winner at the San Diego Music Awards. She released her follow-up album 2018’s “A Woman Rules The World” and it resulted in a 2019 Blues Music Award nomination in the category of Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year.
Vocalist Shay also signed with Ruf Records in 2019. This is her first album with her new label. Produced and arranged by Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff the album was recorded at the Wire Recording Studio in Austin, Tx. Included are Red Young keyboards; Laura Chavez, guitar; Chris Maresh, bass; and either Brannen Temple or Tommy Taylor, drums. Also featured are The Texas Horns with Kazanoff on tenor saxophone; John Mills, baritone saxophone and flute; and Al Gomez, trumpet.
Ten of the twelve tracks are originals co-written by Shay with her writing partner Adam J. Eros. Shay states “I make high energy soulful rhythm ‘n’ blues that make people dance and feel something deep inside”. She is true to form on the brassy title track that opens the album with The Texas Horns providing the punch that highlights Shay’s smoky vocal. Then comes my favorite “Someone You Never Got To Know” about mourning the passing of a promising someone before being able to fully develop a relationship. On “Equal Ground” slide guitarist Derek O’Brien joins Chavez on lead and the interplay between them shines. Then there’s “Far Apart (Still Close)” a vocal duet with Guy Forsyth; and the funky “P.S. It’s Not About You”. Pianist Marcia Ball guests on “Boy Sit Down”. Throughout the recording Young’s organ decorates these solid, well written songs while Shay’s vocals express her central theme of female empowerment.
Covers include Lowman Pauling’s “Tell The Truth” a single for his group, The “5” Royales, from 1958; and “I Never Meant To Love Him” recorded by Etta James that remained unreleased until 1993. These are fabulous versions. Shay says “When I perform, I want people to dance and be engaged. To me, music has always been about catharsis, the purging of sad experiences. If I can make the audience leave smiling and feeling like they’ve forgotten about the troubles of the day, I’ve done my job.”
Shay will help you get lost in the music.