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Shawna Virago: Heaven Sent Delinquent

Shawna Virago
Heaven Sent Delinquent
(Tranimal Records)

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Transgender music pioneer and cult solo acoustic artist Shawna Virago’s new studio album Heaven Sent Delinquent is simply brilliant. It’s great when you hear someone basically just singing along to a well-played acoustic who has something truly worth saying. Virago manages a seemingly raw approach in a punk-folk sensibility across 10 songs about us all, should we be a misfit, outlaw, or garden variety suburbanite looking for identity. “Bright Green Ideas” is a slipping solo acoustic number built around Shawna’s lower-register slight growl. The chorus is spiky and fun, informing an upbeat little opener. The single, a slow and muted, strummed “Gender Armageddon” follows, a tragic tale that skirts a very tight, dangerous line, as much from the story the lyrics tell as its jabbing lead guitar moments and what Shawna manages with her almost talking vocals. It’s a killer tune, really. “The Ballad of Miss Suzy Texas” is a mid-tempo country story song, while “Burnout,” with lyrics like, “The girls wore black, like they were Sylvia Plath/But I bet they never even read her” reminds me of the best of Velvet Underground and Lou Reed’s street truths. It’s another great tune about hiding secrets in a place where you are just dying to light out from. “Holy Rollers” pulls no punches in its character study and features a way-in-the-background lead guitar to Virago’s acoustic and “Land of Guns and Honey” with is heavy acoustic strumming, quick lyric rush, and harmonica is about as down-home of a Dylan homage as Virago gets here. It’s a great personal statement to end Heaven Sent Delinquent.

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