Rick Shea 'Shelter Valley Blues' Tres Pescadores

The California country stalwart has come up with another good diverse and diverting set for his fifth solo studio album. Shea's distinctive voice is the centre of these songs,which are mostly self-written with a couple of co-writes and a interesting cover of the Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues. Shea has produced, engineered the album in his home studio, as well as playing guitar, dobro, pedal steel and mandolin. He is a part of the still thriving Californian scene and maintains a direct link to the Bakersfield Sound. Though he may not have the voice of a Merle Haggard he is in the same ballpark. The song also, on occasion, head south of the border as with the Rosie Flores co-write Sweet Little Pocha, which features Los Lobos' David Hidalgo on accordian. Another diversion is Steady Drivin' Man which evokes an earlier era with its featured clarinet. Ty Robby has a campfire/celtic feel and features some fine harmonies from Moira Smiley. The Haleiwa Shuffle, which was recorded in Honolulu has, naturally, a strong Hawaiian music feel on what starts out as an instrumental but ends with a vocal interlude.  All of which makes this latest album one that covers an number of options and entertains on its own terms. www.rickshea.net