Soul music is one of those genres that’s better left untouched. Over the last few years, countless artists have tried to reinvent the wheel, while others, like Leon Bridges and Lianne La Havas, have remained true to its roots. Though Shannon Busch, aka WILSN, falls into the latter category, she isn’t your typical crooner. Based in Melbourne, the singer has had to look far from the shores of Australia to find her influences. With early comparisons to Etta James and Amy Winehouse, WILSN has found herself a revivalists of sorts. Her sound is best described as a mix of “old-school soul” with modern touches of pop, a combination she perfects on her debut EP, Don’t Give It Up.
With production from Stephen Mowat and contributions from some of Melbourne’s best musicians, including Richard Bradbeer (Dorsal Fins/New Gods/Eagle and The Worm), Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy), Darvid Thor (Cactus Channel), Jamshid “Jumps” Khadiwala (The Cat Empire) and Ryan Brewer (Chris Pickering/Silver Springs), the EP comes packing some serious starpower. Mark Ronson and Charles Bradley‘s live bands also make an appearance on the effort, providing some excellent horn arrangements. But it’s WILSN’s delicate and versatile vocals that help this project come full circle.
From the steady strut of opening track “Walking For Days” to the tender embrace of “You Know How I Feel,” WILSN displays an impressive range, both vocally and emotionally. It’s on the title-track, though, that the singer finds her groove, weaving her way through crisp guitar riffs and tight horn arrangements. If, by this point in the EP she hasn’t already won you over, the closer “Fooled Me” will seal the deal. With a voice smoother than butter and an infectious energy, WILSN will have you begging for more. We can only hope she satisfies our request.