When: Thu., May 30, 8 p.m. 2013
Born in New York and based in Oxford, Mississippi, singer-songwriter Shannon McNally recorded the new Small Town Talk (Sacred Sumac) in 2007, when the man the album celebrates was still alive. Its 14 songs are all by New Orleans great Bobby Charles, who died in 2010 just short of his 72nd birthday. Known best for writing early rock ’n’ roll classics for other performers—“See You Later, Alligator” by Bill Haley, “Walking to New Orleans” by Fats Domino—in the 70s Charles made some terrific pop-rock albums of his own, whose swampy, soulful, ruminative flavor is pure Crescent City. That’s the material McNally tackles, with the help of Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John) and others. The rollicking groove on “Street People” includes Dr. John’s instantly recognizable Hammond B-3 licks, and the gorgeous string-laden arrangements on the ballad “String of Hearts” (by New Orleans legend Wardell Quezergue, who died at 81 in 2011) complement a lovely vocal duet with Vince Gill. Small Town Talk is the best thing I’ve heard from McNally in the 13 years she’s been releasing records. —Peter Margasak Will Phalen & the Stereo Addicts open.