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Upon first hearing Shelby Earl's album, Burn the Boats , about a month ago, I boldly declared "At the Start," her duet with producer/Long Winters

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Shelby Earl's "At the Start" Is NPR's Song of the Day

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Upon first hearing Shelby Earl's album, Burn the Boats, about a month ago, I boldly declared "At the Start," her duet with producer/Long Winters frontman/Reverb columnist John Roderick, to be "an early frontrunner for best song put out by any artist in 2011."

After writing that, I worried that my reaction might have been a tad hyperbolic. Well, I'm not worried anymore: NPR just named "At the Start" its song of the day (if not the year).

Says NPR: "An ode to the end of an affair, 'At the Start' finds Earl sounding defiantly triumphant, with Roderick dropping his guard to play the crestfallen. 'We're right where we've always been,' they sing together, adding, 'At the start, we could see the end.' It's the one who got away and the one who got left behind, singing together beautifully in just one highlight from Earl's warm, wonderful new record."

Oddly, the way NPR frames it makes me think of it as the alt-country cousin to Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow's sensational "Me & Tennessee," the best song off a great soundtrack to a not-as-bad-as-critics-made-it-seem movie (Country Strong). Earl, not Paltrow, will be playing this coming Tuesday at Fremont Abbey before joining Stag's Rock 'n Roll Circus at Darrell's Tavern on Saturday, April 16.

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