Some people enter a room and blend right in. Not Shelley King. She sweeps in, carrying herself with the strength and assurance of a woman who knows how to step up and get it done, whether “it” is leading her band, running her own record label or co-producing her new album, Building A Fire.
If there’s a little swagger to her strut, she’s earned it. Since quitting a sales job to pursue music full time in 1998, the singer-songwriter has served as the first female Texas state musician, performed with Levon Helm, toured the United States, Europe and Japan and cut two albums with members of the Subdudes — including this one, her seventh.
She’s also the author of a song recorded by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra; they duetted on “Texas Blue Moon” after Hazlewood heard King’s version on the radio while driving through the state. That might chalk up as a lucky break, but it’s King’s talent and tenacity that make such breaks happen.
We’re talking, after all, about a woman who loves the Subdudes’ music so much, she started pursuing opening slots on their tours so she could catch their shows. It makes perfect sense that King would be attracted to that New Orleans-born band; her own soul-filled, earthy Americana sound is rooted in southern gospel and blues, dampened by the Gulf-borne humidity of Louisiana, nourished by the river loam of Muscle Shoals, then cleansed by the hot springs of her native Arkansas, with a little Texas country bubbling underneath.