Waters run deep in Shannon Whitworth’s soul. A daughter of South Carolina’s low country, it’s to the water that she returns when she needs respite from the wearisome world. So it’s understandable the theme of water surfaces in her songs so often; these are women who run, women who hope, women who love the wrong man, and when true love is present, women who return. They are Water Bound.
The first thing that you notice about Shannon Whitworth is the voice—smoky, elegant, a bit husky, patient at all the right moments and equally adept at the phrasing of a jazz chanteuse; it’s no wonder she’s garnered comparisons to singers from Patsy Cline to Billie Holiday, as well as contemporaries like Neko Case.
Shannon Whitworth was born in Virginia, but moved to South Carolina almost immediately after birth. Her father was an educator and a music lover. He and her mother filled the Whitworth house with music, and Shannon’s early years echoed with the songs of those that she considers some of the writers who framed her melodic sensibilities: Paul Simon, James Taylor, John Prine and Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. “Some of my band tease me when I listen to these en route to gigs, but these guys are my classics,” says Whitworth. Moving back to Virginia in her teenage years, she was able to plug into the Northern Virginia music scene. She eventually found her way to North Carolina, where she was a founding member of the Biscuit Burners, the bluegrass band that brought her prodigious talents to the attention of the music world. After appearances on the BBC and PBS, Whitworth left the band to pursue a broader musical vision. She released her first solo album No Expectations in 2007. Whitworth has finally settled in North Carolina with her husband on a piece of land where three rivers meet. “Is it any wonder that the ideas of love and water are so inextricably linked in my mind?” jokes Whitworth.
Water Bound carries with it the promise of heading toward something better—a promise that Shannon Whitworth and her beautiful new album deliver in spades.