Shelly Waters recently made the move from Charleston, SC to Portland, ME, and though it may be a huge cultural change going from the South to New England, she has managed to hold on to musical roots that trace back to her home state of Louisiana. Waters possesses a sound that feels like the epitome of the holy tonal trinity of blues, country, and rock. Her South Louisiana upbringing meant hearing swamp pop, old R&B, and rock ’n’ roll on a regular basis. Even all these years later, Waters still finds herself drawn to those styles of music despite being geographically removed from them, and they are what she is most comfortable singing. With her powerful and haunting voice Waters is able to bring her music to life and her lyrics betray a life filled with twists, turns, and adventure.
All of this can be heard on her new self-titled album, which is due out on July 28th. Over the course of a dozen tracks Waters translates the ups, downs, and thrills of life into soulful Americana. Today Glide Magazine is premiering one of the standout tracks on the album, “Evangeline”. Featuring the twang of Waters’ Rickenbacher alongside her honeyed vocals, the infectious tune feels like a love letter to a lost partner or perhaps a place close to one’s heart.
Listen to “Evangeline” and read our quick chat with Winters about the inspiration behind the song…
What inspired you to write this song? Is there a story behind it, something that prompted you to put pen to paper and create? Is there a real-life Evangeline? If so, has she heard the song?
The inspiration behind this song came from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie.” The poem tells the story of a young couple, Evangeline and Gabriel, who were separated during the exile of the Acadians and who spent the rest of their lives searching for each other. Their heart wrenching search began in South Louisiana, where many exiles settled in what is known today as Acadiana or “Cajun” country. As a native of South Louisiana and Acadian descendent, the sad story is a vital link to a defining part of my Cajun history and culture. There have been songs written about Evangeline, but I took a different approach and wrote this from Gabriel’s perspective.
What was the recording process like for this song? What do you think this particular song brings to the album? How does it fit in with any themes that are part of the album overall?
“Evangeline” came together pretty quickly in the studio. From start to finish, it just felt good… Musically, it’s more on the easy-listening country rock side, and emotionally, it was my simple way to pay respect to my ancestors and stay connected to my South Louisiana roots.
I’ve heard that you are moving from Charleston to Portland, Maine. What will you miss most about Charleston and what are you most excited about in Portland?
Honestly, this move is bittersweet. I’m already missing my dear friends and sweet fans in the Lowcountry, but I am very excited about meeting new friends and fans in the Northeast.
Shelly Waters releases her self-titled album on July 28th. For more music and info visit shellywaters.net.
Photo: Jenn Cady