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Singer Joan Shelley Shows 'There's Just Something in the Water in Kentucky'

At a time when the world has been dealing with some rough news, the music of Joan Shelleyis a welcome respite.

The Kentucky singer-songwriter’s voice evokes comparisons to some of folk music’s most well-known names.  A review by Will Hermeson NPR’s All Things Considered called her recent CD, Over and Even, one of the most beautiful recordings of the year.

For Shelley, it took a lot of effort to find a sound she could claim as her own that could create a solo CD.

"It’s hard to have an original – truly original – sound. We’re all borrowing. But I got rid of things I could identify as much as possible, as an imitation, so that I could get clear on what was me. And I tried to use my voice as much as possible," says Shelley.

Shelley, who also plays with the trio Maiden Radio, was in Milwaukee recently and stopped by the Lake Effect studio for a concert and conversation.  She started by playing a song, Brighter Than the Blues, from her newest CD: