Beer and Pavement

The Matador 100 Project: Shams’ ‘Quilt’ (Olé 028)

Posted in Matador 100, Review by SM on July 21, 2020

The Shams are a group I honestly don’t really know much about. They come up twice in the Matador 100, this being the first of the two entries. Quilt (Olé 028) was released in 1992. The band’s name is a reference to The Shams, the outsider music, all-female group from the late-60’s. Them band was primarily known for their part in establishing the Americana and No Depression scenes of the 80’s and 90’s.

As an aside, the only member familiar to me is Sue Garner (although, Amy Rigby seems to be more productive over the years). Garner has been in loads of bands, but it was her stint in Matador label mates Run On where I’ve crossed her path. I saw Run On open for Yo La Tengo in 1994 or 1995 and then again for Will Oldham in 1997. I loved Run On and their first Matador LP, Start Packing (Olé 153). Listen to standout “Xmas Trip” to understand why.

The Shams ‘Quilt’ (Olé 028)

Anyway, The Shams put together a nice little record that holds a place in early alt.country as well as all that other No Depression stuff. The production is dated and limited, but the harmonies and tender songs don’t need a lot of digital embellishment. Honestly, I don’t know that I can do this record much justice. It’s a nice artifact of a subgenre of the 1990’s. In researching the band and record – and there’s not much out there, I found this Chicago Tribune write up that captures the band and the time.

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