Meghan Shanley – Ready for Love

by Larry Toering

meghan-shanley_ready-for-loveWith her genuine warmth and dynamic stage presence, Meghan Shanley blends beloved standards with a delightful taste of jazz and soul to deliver a compelling performance every time she steps up to the microphone. Meghan also shares unique that harken back to a classic area, as well on her debut release. This is a sleek and groovy effort that sounds like she’s been recording all of her life. It’s all very familiar sounding because of this combination of such well known styles which often go together, but rarely found to be done so well. I wondered myself just where she’d been hiding, until I found it was her first CD, and that is the general reaction it should get from any veteran music fan, but also from the casual listener as well.

There just isn’t one filler song here to speak of that way. It’s no wonder just by looking at her that she won the Miss Virginia title, but what has become of her since is remarkably impressive as well, as she instantly forged a music act out of the love shown for her when she went on the tour. So, after some stage plays and recording a song for the Food Network, she is now playing around Nashville and turning heads left and right with her classic but modern approach to music, and I’m on board the bus, so to speak, wishing I could be in Nashville to see it.

Kicking off the CD off right away with the title track as the opener, Ready For Love, things instantly start moving and never let up. I love how she delivers the vocal on this, and how the instruments don’t take a back seat but don’t overly dominate either. This is some kind of magic to be found all over each song, with this one leading the overall message to get started. If that isn’t enough, you will be practically astounded by the next two masterful pieces of music. These first three songs are what sold me, but it doesn’t mean the rest doesn’t get better. I cannot get enough of the infectious melody of One Day, it’s an absolute gem, followed by the very enjoyable energy of track three, Synergy. Then things take quite a turn with the creative sparks on the big ballad, Break My Heart.

I was blown away by this number and captivated by her abilities at this point, completely winning me over. I compare her to such greats as Ela Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and even Michael Bulbe’. That is a tall order to fill but she does it without even trying, in fact she’s one of them herself at this point, and with so far to go, who knows, she could even surpass many singers in their league. She captivates the listener and rules the ears in a way unlike that of most of today’s artists, who seem to just copy and make sure they look different in the process.

There is nothing cookie cutter about it, but also not so unique that it loses appeal by being intentionally genre defying, it’s more of a natural character that pulls you in, rather than an “it” factor or being a copycat. I also like the amazing Better Left Unsaid, and the hypnotic dance flair of Shake It. But in essence, there is not one bad track to be found on this. I recommend it over and above a lot of the radio noise going around lately, where all you hear are watered down versions of what’s to be found on Ready For Love.

This is a sweet snapshot of a budding superstar but make no mistake, she’s earned her place and paid her dues, so her efforts are solid and will go far if she stays the course. Don’t be fooled by fakers of this blend of styles, she’s the real deal. Why is not everyone like Meghan? Well, the answer is simple: because not everyone can be.

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