Shantell Ogden - Song Sampler Vol 1
There are few artists that release output with the consistency of Shantell Ogden, you can dip into any of her previous recordings and find a positive trove of delights and that record is not going to be blemished by her latest release - "Song Sampler Vol 1", the EP being a musical equivalent of the needlework version of a sampler with five songs showcasing different aspects of her writing.
"Love On The Fast Track" opens up with a big old country guitar riff which eases into a lovely piece of country rock. dealing with the power of love "don't give your heart away". Mixing together car and love imagery "taking my hands off the wheel", "got my heart on the line and my foot on the gas" to the the point at which they blur "ain't no way to stop it" this is a great way to kick things off.
"Heart That Breaks Me" continues things bit in a completely different way, with an almost dreamy intro being the background to a quite brutally honest lyrical opening "I got used to the dark on the wrong side of lonesome". She then goes on to detail a number of her potential failings before in an absolute peach of a chorus requesting "Don't give up keep on trying i'll say leave but i'm just lying" addressing the barriers that you put up when you've been hurt before. Shantell is able to put just the right about of encouragement to her prospective suitor.
"Heroes & Villains" is not a Beach Boys cover, but is another side of Shantell altogether. Instrumentally it has a different feel with a much more urgent rhythm section with some great drumming from Tommy Harden, a lovely organ sound and some great guitar work. Lyrically there is a war imagery in the opening verses "battle cry", "war is coming".
"On A Haystack" is a pretty straightforward retelling of her childhood days in Utah, "when the world seemed smaller and the days seemed longer". The opening lines are so descriptive it is as if we are sat next to Shantell "2 lane highway doing 65, turns into dirt, took the exit sign". It is a simple natural wish to want to return to simpler times and Shantell does a great job of retelling why it means so much to her, such as first loves, amd when hometown air "never smelt so sweet", It is not all reminiscing though as Shantell observes in the bridge "What used to be a farm is history now, memories spill over where the fence is down" which stops it being too sugary and anchors it in reality.
The ever changing moods of the song sampler concludes with "Outrun My Faith" with one of the most infectious uptempo choruses you'll come across all year - a real celebration on which to close out a pretty faultless EP.