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Now Hear This: Heaven Sent Delinquent - Shawna Virago

Rating: ***1/2

Must Listen: Bright Green Ideas, Last Nights Sugar, Land of Guns and Honey

Skip: Burnout, Anniversary Song

I love the Bay Area. It is and has always been at the forefront of artists being who they truly are. That’s why it’s no surprise that transgendered folkster, Shawna Virago calls San Francisco home. Being unfamiliar with Virago musically, I was especially excited to dig in to this one. From what I’ve heard they are highly influenced by Billy Bragg and Leonard Cohen and that always sits well with me. So without further adieu, let’s listen to “Heaven Sent Delinquent.”

Watch the video for “Gender Armageddon” below:

The album gets started with a rousing folk rocker called, Bright Green Ideas. First impression is that it reminds me of Jonathan Richman. Definitely tongue-in-cheek. There’s a local SF reference to Cafe Du Nord in the first 30 seconds. Very good opening track. Gender Armageddon is the next track and from what I understand is the first single off the album. A little more Springsteen here. Lyrically a much more serious tune. The Ballad of Miss Suzy Texas starts to show a country tinge. Clever lyrically again with Shawna delivering the best chorus on the album thus far. This brings us to track 4, Last Nights Sugar. This one shows Virago at their very best. A slow, Lennon-esque vibe to this one. Really earnest lyrically and vocally. My favorite song on the album. The title track, Heaven Sent Delinquent is where the album starts to slow down a little. It doesn’t really pick up until we get to The Pleasure Car. A fun number about an early sexual experience with a guy who had a rad pompadour. You can’t really miss there. The penultimate track on album is a song called Holy Rollers. This one is very Billy Bragg sounding. Again, it’s very clever lyrically. I really liked this one. We’re back on track with these last two. The record ends on the confident-bordering-on-cocky, Land of Guns and Honey. This one starts with a harmonica and guitar intro that musically is the highlight of the entire album. The melody is strong here. It kinda sounds like Tom Waits with less razor-blade gargling. A fine ending to a pretty fun offering from Shawna Virago.

Listen, if you like Billy Bragg, Tom Waits, Wilco and the like, you’re probably gonna dig this. It’s thoughtful and funny and aside from a brief hiccup in the middle part of the album, pretty consistently good. I recommend it.