Recommendation XXXII: Crystal Shawanda

Whoo, today was pretty nice (“today” referring to Tuesday, which is when I wrote this, but I am barely posting it now): I had the day off, so I slept about ten hours lol and got ready for the day. I missed out breakfast, and it was now lunchtime, and I really needed to eat, so I finally decided I’d take my mom to lunch at Applebee’s (haha, yeah, had to get in on that 3 course meal for $10 thing they have/had going). Lunch was good, but I ended up paying $35, including the tip, so I paid for than I thought I would (that’s where they get ya…and drinks and tax really do add up!). Anyway, I’ll get to some other things we did later in the post since they relate.

My thirty-second recommendation is: Crystal Shawanda’s “Try” from her 2008 Dawn of a New Day album.  This debut album came out this week and has strong material on it, so it was a must to do.  I’ve been anticipating this release for quite some time and it doesn’t disappoint (I’d like a more traditional country sound to it, but it’s fine without it).  I first heard Crystal’s debut radio single, “You Can Let Go”, I think, in January when listening to XM Radio online.  I was impressed and even more so when I found out she was Native American, just like me.  It’s not that often you see a Native have a breakthrough in country music, especially a female, so I was immediately drawn to her and had to find out more.  Her voice was very different that any female singer I’ve heard (she’s like the female Gary Allan) and while the theme and lyrics in the song have been done before, she put her own stamp on it and makes it even better.  With her vocals, she knows when to crack and break at the right times, and it’s full of a lot of emotion.  I knew lots of people could relate, so I hoped it would be a big hit in the U.S., but it wasn’t, unfortunately.  It did bring Crystal Shawanda to the spotlight with many people, though, and she seems to be big in Canada, her home country (Canadian Female Vocalist of the Year nomination…whoo).  It’s cool to read about her and see her performance videos on youtube.  I think Kevin on Country Universe did an excellent review on “You Can Let Go” some months back, and there’s lots of feedback there, so check that out.

Back to today’s story.  Before I took my mom to lunch, I took her to the bank and while she was in there, I was listening to XM Radio’s Channel 16‘s “Driver’s Ed” and much to my surprise, Crystal was on there.  On that program, a new artist has to prove themself and obtain “points” through a 30-minute interview, with two live acoustic performances, a pop quiz, and they play two other songs of that artist.  The program had just started when my mom came out and as we headed to the restaurant, we listened to the whole thing, and man, it was really enjoyable (I think you can catch it on XM this week, if you missed it).  She seems really laid-back and passionate about singing country music, and made us love her even more.  I told my mom about Crystal months ago when I discovered her and she was also very excited for the new album.  Later on, after we ate, I drove to Best Buy and bought two copies of the album: one for me, and one for my mom.  Went home and listened to it.  Alright, I’ve told my cute little story, so onto the recommendation in the next paragraph…

“Try” is one the instant songs on the disc that is great great stuff.  I’d label it as more contemporary country with more nods to rock music than country, but it’s done with the soul of a country singer.  The rocking tune is about a dishonest lover who continuously lies and their other half ain’t taking it no more, and won’t be fooled.  She dares him to try but she’s not having it.  I think they lyrics are pretty good, but it’s the vocals and the instrumentation that really grabs me the most.  I remember hearing this song a while back somewhere online (I think it was her myspace page) and it was an instant fav of mine.  Crystal’s edgy and rough voice blasts the attitude that is needed for such a song and she sounds like she means it, so that’s what I like.  One part of the song that I’m not particularly fond of (I’m being nitpicky but I’m being honest) is the pop-sounding background female vocals that repeat “Try. Try.” twice near the end of the song.  You’ll see what I mean if you listen to the whole song (which you should, by buying it).  It’s not a big thing and isn’t too long so nothing to gravel over, but I think it’s kinda unnecessary.  Still gets 5 stars for me on iTunes and definitely worthy for being a recommendation choice!

She co-wrote three songs on the album and it was produced by Scott Hendricks (there’s no lyrics in the album insert though, what gives? lol).  Canada has actually had the album for about two months before the States, so now it’s our chance to finally to buy and turn these new jams on up!  Some other songs from the album that I think you might enjoy (but they’re all good) are: “Evolution”, “What Do I Have to Do?” (which I hear is the second single of her’s in Canada), “My Roots Are Showing”, “Dawn of a New Day”, and her impressive remake of Hank Williams‘s “Your Cheatin’ Heart”.

Thanks for reading!

Buy the song on iTunes now!

Here are the full lyrics to “Try”, written by Ed Hill, Luke Laird, & Hillary Lindsey:

You spun that web, baby
You made that bed, baby
You built that brick wall that you’re running into

You bear that cross, baby
I’d paid the costs, baby
Now you’ll lose
And it don’t matter what you do…

You can try
To change me
You can say what you want
With your pretty little lies
You can beg
You can plead
But you won’t get to me this time
This time
But you can try

Use all the strength you’ve got
Go on, take your best shot
But it won’t touch me
I know I won’t feel a thing
You’ve left me no choice, baby
Listen to my voice, baby
I mean what I mean, but…

You can try
To change me
You can say what you want
With your pretty little lies
You can beg
You can plead
But you won’t get to me this time
This time
But you can try

Try
Try

You can try
To change me
You can say what you want
With your pretty little lies
You can beg
You can plead
But you won’t get to me this time
This time
But you can try

You can try
Yeah

You spun that web, baby
You made that bed, baby…

You can try
But you won’t change my mind
No, you won’t change my mind…

—————————————————-

http://www.myspace.com/crystalshawanda

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3 Comments

  1. This is my favorite song on the album, it’s catchy and fun. I would be a shame if they don’t release this one as a single.

  2. Hey, We got that comment from Johnny on our site too.:) Perhaps the Contact Us section would be better. Hopefully, you read all of the sites that your advertising on.
    Anyway, nice recommendation. I’ll check it out. I downloaded “Your Cheatin’ Heart” already. I agree with the Gary Allan comparison. It’s the first thing I heard when I heard her voice.

    PS. Nice story about you and your mom. What a nice son!

  3. Wow, I think it’s kinda cool that a USA Today blog linked to this specific post today, as “Try” is the author’s own recommendation:
    http://blogs.usatoday.com/listenup/2008/11/this-weeks-pl-2.html

    I am honored and I approve that track as well ;)


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