With a voice as woozy and gorgeous as a California sundown, Shelly Colvin swirls up her own brand of lush, late-night roots rock with Longshot. She calls the music “desert folk,” pointing to a diverse background — a childhood spent in Alabama, a move to Los Angeles during her early 20s, and more than a decade in her current home of Nashville — as an influence on the album’s unique sound.
Tracked to analog tape by producers Adam Landry and Justin Collins, Longshot also features harmonies and guitar work from nearly a half-dozen musicians, positioning Colvin as one of the key singer/songwriters in a community that also includes Longshot guests Nikki Lane, Odessa Rose, T. Hardy Morris, Carl Broemel and Michael Ford, Jr. “I wanted the album to feel like you’re in a TransAm in 1980, and you’re driving down Mulholland with the windows down at midnight,” says Colvin, who performed with the bands Sister South and Brown’s Ferry before releasing her first solo album — Up the Hickory Down the Pine, produced by Wilco co-founder Ken Coomer — in 2012.
Despite the handful of guest appearances, most of Longshot was made in isolation, with Colvin, Landry and Collins recording the tracks during a series of live takes. Colvin, whose position in the recording studio put her closest to the control room, would even run back to the tape machine between performance, rolling back the reel for the next take. Throughout the sessions, she wore a jacket made of an old Mexican blanket — a clothing item that became symbolic of the music itself. “I sorta feel like that vibey piece of clothing set the tone for the whole thing,” she says. “We made that interesting old garment come to life in the music. Call it desert grunge.”