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Indie soul songstress Jill McCracken’s forthcoming release, “Shake Me Up”, is a celebration of feeling— anything that she’s got on the inside (and there’s a lot on the inside), is triumphantly released out into the world. Though Jill’s songs catch the ear as pop tunes, touching heavily on classic soul and Motown influences, a closer listen lets the audience know that these aren’t as simple as ABC, 123; there’s conflict that lies just beneath the surface of the songs, as nodded to by Jill’s sweet and savory lyrics. This isn’t a masquerade of beauty; it’s a celebration of Jill’s honest-to-goodness truth of life and love— not only the beautiful, terrible, horrible parts, but especially all the in-betweens.“Shake Me Up” boasts soaring silky vocals (Jill McCracken, Mandy Goldman), a pocketed rhythm section (Kevin Ewer, Brendan Duran), tight guitar riffs (Jim Horvath) and a soulful organ & Wurlitzer performance (Jon Petronzio) to create an original potpurri of new and old. The retro shoutout kicks in immediately on the first track, “Lovesick Woman”, with its undeniable Jackson 5 overtones, then bounces to the modern day influence of Lake Street Dive on “Do You?”, and back to the Al Green and Aretha Franklin days in the sensual backing vocals and twinkly keys on “A Taste of Sweetness”.
If you listen closely to this final tune on the album, you’ll hear waves of Seneca Lake crashing against the shore— an homage to the lake house where Jill and her band recorded the album. They were joined for their time on the lake by Nick Bullock of Awake Studios (Nashville), who produced and engineered “Shake Me Up”, shaping the songs into the soul record that it was meant to be.
Singing her truth is not a standstill moment of internal solitude— rather, Jill declares her truth with power, sincerity, and pure delight. She does so with her preferred delivery of movin’, groovin’ and hip-shakin’ all through her performance.