MICHELLE SHOCKED’S SHOW at the Kessler Sunday night was mostly a re-creation, note for sweet rocking note, of her impressive 1988 debut album Short Sharp Shocked. Anyone remember it? I do, but I had only heard the record and was not prepared for the ferocious talent she exhibited onstage — soaring vibrato, meticulous guitar work and feline physical grace — leaving no doubt about the current state of her art and abilities. Without mentioning the murky controversy (Is she really anti-gay? Hard to believe) that has dogged her for four years and likely left a few seats unsold, she displayed only gratitude and appreciation toward the cheering hometown audience that sang along on “Anchorage” and “Memories of East Texas.” Backed by the LP’s original producer and virtuoso guitarist Pete Anderson (and trio) she rocked the house, no qualifiers needed. At the end she called up onstage her East Dallas dad, Bill Johnston, for a winning mandolin duet on a Woody Guthrie rag, while crediting him as her early musical mentor and inspiration. A memorable evening in Oak Cliff.

About Sean Mitchell

SEAN MITCHELL is a journalist, critic and former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Dallas Times Herald. His articles and reviews have also appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, and other publications. Born in Bethlehem, Pa., he grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas and Brown University. He lives in Dallas.
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