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Michelle Shocked is a traveling troubadour whose musical talent is so eclectic it is difficult to categorize. As a young feminist, she left Texas to travel, Kerouac-style, and was caught up in Reagan-era grassroots politics. Her musical career was ignited by a bootleg recording made around a Kerrville Folk Festival campfire on a Sony Walkman.
2/12 she’s joined by Kansas City Choir Boy and Iowa composer Todd Almond.
Almond and Shocked, who recently forged a theatrical collaboration, will take the stage to share an evening that explores the intersection of their individual styles and insights into their upcoming stage musical adaptation of Shocked’s 1994 album, Kind Hearted Woman.
In a 26-year career that has seen critical acclaim at every juncture, Shocked famously escaped major-label indentured servitude in 1996, subverting the artist-label relationship that helped lead to the current trend toward artistic self-containment. She has made good use of her independence, releasing more critically-acclaimed albums on her Mighty Sound label. Her 2009 album, Soul of My Soul, was the latest of these.
In 2010, she launched Roadworks, an ongoing, 5-year touring project which curates audience’s favorite songs while developing Indelible Women.
“Michelle Shocked” is the nom de guerre given at her arrest in a political protest called “The War Chest Tour” during the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, California. The demonstration challenged the practice of U.S. corporations receiving lucrative military contracts from the U.S. government while giving generous campaign contributions to both political parties, thus benefiting from political favors regardless of election results. “Michelle Shocked” was intended to invoke the spectre of “shell shock” as a result of Reagan’s Cold War policies.