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Michelle Shocked

Michelle Shocked was born Michelle Johnston in Dallas, TX, in 1962, where she spent her early childhood traveling around army bases. In 1977, she ran away from her Mormon fundamentalist mother to live with her father, who introduced her to country bluesmen Big Bill Broonzy and Leadbelly, as well as contemporary songwriters Guy Clark and Randy Newman. She spent the next several years exploring the folk underground, spending the early '80s in Austin, where she began honing her own songwriting skills. After dropping out of the University of Texas, she moved to San Francisco, where she quickly embraced the city's punk scene. When she returned home, her mother had her committed to a psychiatric hospital. She was released when her insurance ran out. Shocked left Texas in 1983, traveled throughout the U.S., and became an activist in the squatters movement in New York. In 1984, she moved to Amsterdam.

In 1986, Shocked returned to the U.S. and, while volunteering at the Kerrville Folk Festival, English producer Pete Lawrence was impressed by her campfire-side playing and recorded her on his Sony Walkman. The recordings surfaced in the fall of that year as The Texas Campfire Tapes on Cooking Vinyl Records and became a surprise hit in England, eventually topping the independent charts. The success led to her signing with Mercury Records in 1988. Short Sharp Shocked, produced by Pete Anderson in 1988, displayed even more talent, combining the informal, tradition-rooted folkiness of The Texas Campfire Tapes with a strong postmodern feminist perspective and punk attitude. The album quickly earned her respect among the alternative community and critics. In an unexpected move, Shocked returned in 1989 with Captain Swing, a '40s-style big band swing outing that surprised her fans initially but had no shortage of strong material. In 1992, she took something of a step back with Arkansas Traveler, a rootsy collection of songs based on the blackface minstrelsy that covered all forms of early American, homegrown music. In 1993, Mercury finally became fed up with her confusing style jumping and refused to release her proposed gospel album. She then left on a solo tour, selling her newly recorded, independently produced (with Tony Berg) Kind Hearted Woman. Late in 1995, Shocked began legal action against Mercury Records to break her contract.

By 1996, Shocked was released from Mercury and embarked on the First Annual Underground Test Site Tour, with Fianchna O'Braonain. Another independent release, Artists Make Lousy Slaves, was sold at the shows. Kind Hearted Woman was picked up for commercial re-release by Private Music in 1996, and as a condition of her release from Mercury, her old label released a "best-of" compilation, Mercury Poise: 1988-1995, the same year. After laying low for several years, in 2002 Shocked re-emerged with a new album, the gospel-influenced Deep Natural, and her own record label, Mighty Sound. In addition to releasing new work from Shocked, Mighty Sound began a program of expanded reissues of her back catalog, which she gained control of following her release from Mercury. In mid-2005, Shocked audaciously released a new trilogy of very different albums all on the same day, June 7: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Mexican Standoff, and Got No Strings. Mighty Sound also made the three albums available as a set called Threesome. To Heaven U Ride, a collection of covers and originals recorded live from Shocked's 2003 performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, appeared in 2007, followed by Soul of My Soul, an all-new set of originals in 2009. ~ Chris Woodstra, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

There was some incident here in Santa Cruz, California, but her talent is undeniable
jwc1413
She is the opposite of homophobic, fool.
mrojas010
This homophobic c**t got booed off the stage at The Fillmore. F**k her.
LOVE Anchored in Anchorage!
I haven't checked out Michelle Shocked since I picked up Short Sharp Shocked years ago. Today though she showed in rotation on Pandora and I got sucked into her biography and discography.

Partially based on recommendati o n s here I'll pick up several more of her albums and keep tabs on her tour schedule in case she comes to my burg.

To quote Pink Floyd, if you give 'em a short sharp shock they'll never do it again, eh?

-Todd
Seen michelle at the met in spokane several years back. Been to hundreds of concerts, still one of the very best i have been to. Incredibly talented siblings with mr tweedy.
Love the line, "I think I'm a housewife."
WENT TO A RECENT CONCERT AT THE MAJIC BAG,A SMALL VENUE IN FERNDALE,MIC H I G A N LAST YEAR. ABSOLUTLY WONDERFUL !...I WISH SHE WOULD TOUR MORE OFTEN...
You are missing two of her best albums!!! 1. Captain Swing, 2. Deep Natural.
this chick been thru sum doo
kbiesmann
Michelle Shocked rocks - try to see her live if you can!! My all time favorite dancing music.
I love Captain Swing and wish she would do more of this kind of music, but it just isn't her native style, I guess. She has an amazingly strong and versatile voice, but I'm not so hot on the folky stuff she likes to record.
mickishawnon e i l
Please include Anchor Down in Anchorage.
Short Sharp Shocked is a good album - best song to me is Anchorage. Hope Pandora will play this song!
Michelle Shocked
I am still exploring the many choices with pandora, a bit confusing since I am not so knowledgeabl e about such programs. I would like to hear som just regular GOSPEL SONGS. Cynthia Clawson, Amy Grant, Vince Gill would be good choices..... . . . . . . . . T H A N X anyway!!!

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