Michelle Shocked


On the cover of her major-label debut Short, Sharp, Shocked, singer/songwriter and activist Michelle Shocked was pictured on the receiving end of a violent choke hold, courtesy of a San Francisco policeman. Two decades later, on ToHeavenURide, she’s in the throes of a much higher power. Unlike that rather shocking photo, taken during a Democratic National Convention protest in 1984, she’s not raging against the machine; she’s praising God and Jesus. And the resulting performance is an earthy joy. Recorded live at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Shocked’s scrappy enthusiasm is contagious as she’s accompanied by a soulful backing band and singers. Wrenching takes on “God Bless the Child,” “Uncloudy Day” and even the Band’s “The Weight” are interspersed with genuine testifying and heartwarming proclamations of her faith. 5 stars.