"So Far, So Good" by Jackie James, featuring Shanade

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"So Far, So Good" by Jackie James, featuring Shanade

Review

I really appreciate the unusual in music and so reporting on the first single I can recall being released for Mothering Sunday is a pleasure & I hope you manage to give "So Far, So Good" by Jackie James a listen (possibly with your own mother if that's possible).

I also deeply value songs of emotional depth & honesty and this one has profound quantities of both, being composed in the aftermath of Jackie losing her own mother on New Year's Eve. A hymn to her & her husband, it celebrates their lives together from being 16 year old childhood sweethearts to raising a family together while relocating from one end of the country to another with all the challenges that must have brought.

I say it's a Jackie James single: which is wholly true as regards conception & composition in addition to the family story at its heart, yet the pitch perfect beauty with which it is delivered comes courtesy of Jackie's old friend Shanade Morrow (you really couldn't mistake her voice)..

The reason for this is not precisely entirely aesthetic: Jackie found herself unable to sing it when it came to time to recording (and who could blame her given the emotional capital involved) and so Shanade kindly took up the challenge, despite recovering from a sore throat herself (not that you can tell), learning & mastering the song in under two hours.

Quite apart from the need to have an objective delivery & the value of having a friend to do so, I think Shanade was a very wise choice. Obviously she's a very talented & distinctive singer, but I think what really shines through is her inherent taste & ability to deliver highly personal material (especially if it "belongs" to someone else) with respect.

Shanade never goes down the road of showing off with vocal acrobatics anyway, nor has she ever tried to defraud listeners with excessive false emoting: much of her reputation comes from the truth of her performances (and to be honest I very much tend towards artists who take that road when choosing who to review. I can't ever remember writing about a showoff, nor would I). So what you get is actually a gentle, underplayed performance which takes the song into a realm of intimacy & a domestic beauty which lasted a lifetime, with occasional multiplying of the vocal for variation.

The backing reflects this: a sparse, electronic arrangement which does all which is required of it: to provide Shanade with melodic accompaniment & drive it along at a pace whereby we can absorb the story and which flows like the river on the video, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1fHcc6eU1g

The track was mastered by Matt Waddell at 14 Records in Leamington & will shortly be available for purchase, download & streaming.

You might call it exquisite if you like & even if their story varies in details from those of your parents or mine, hopefully it is so well wrought that we can understand the notions of deep, lasting love being sung about & apply it to other similar relationships within your family.

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