Everyone who loves music is sucked in – yes, ‘sucked in’ seems the right term to use – to a new artist their own way. Maybe you go for the voice; maybe the lyrics; maybe the way the music is played; maybe it’s the composition of the songs. For me, it’s usually the voice – if I don’t love the voice, I can’t ever love the music no matter how good the songs are (although I may grow to like the songs very much).

Shawn Nelson has one of those voices that sucks me in. There’s an edge to it that threatens something unexpected and perhaps a little bit dangerous for a listener who may surmise that they’ve heard this country music caper before. The supporting instruments on this EP, Enough, don’t crowd out that voice, which is a credit to the producers – one of whom is in the band – as much as to the restraint of the musicians involved, including Nelson. Consequently we can listen to the songs over and over again and still find nooks and crannies in Nelson’s voice that didn’t seem to be there before. 

Enough is Nelson’s follow-up to the 2011 album San Juan Street. One of the great things about music being available in digital format is that artists can release one song, four songs or twenty songs if they want – they do not have to comply to any ‘traditional’ ideas about how their music is presented. So a four-track EP is now not only accessible but logical. This EP of Nelson’s costs a grand total of $4 and is worth more than that. 

Nelson has a musical pedigree – the song construction is solid, and that aforementioned restraint is the hallmark of an experienced artist who doesn’t feel the need to throw everything he has at the listener. This EP is the perfect introduction to his sound and if it inspires you to buy his album – well, it’s done its job.

Enough by Shawn Nelson & The Good Buds is available for download from Bandcamp: shawnnelsonmusic.bandcamp.com