S. J. TUCKER is an independent singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fire artist--a truly compelling performer whose strong guitar work, enormous voice and wealth of talent belie her small stature. Named Queen of the Bards by past Lyle Lovett and Reba McEntire producer Willie Pevear, S. J. is based in Memphis, TN, and tours the USA extensively, both solo and as leader of the band, Skinny White Chick. S. J. has released four full-length albums containing all-original material, two studio and two live, on nothing but her own steam, and has run rings around her own U. S. touring circuit more than once. SIRENS is her newest and best release, containing stories of pirates, alligators, stalkers, protests, love, and long drives! 'The Greeks had it right: a gifted, beautiful lady can enchant or destroy the hardiest souls. The sirens of Classical myth, though, were shortchanged (go figure!). The best singers can open your soul as well as your heart. S. J. Tucker is one such siren, and her new release is the best one yet. For folks who haven't yet had the pleasure, S.J. Tucker is a traveling bard of the Difranco/Amos school. Shunning major labels in favor of independence, this Pagan songstress spins rhymes and flames to delightful effect. Woven around strong vocals and plaintive guitars, her songs reach beyond the rubbish called "pop music." From silliness to sorrow, the emotions in her art are genuine. 'Each song on Sirens is a winner. The album's heavy-rotation tracks include "Go Away, God Boy" (a fierce kiss-off to an evangelical stalker), "Lady Vagabond" (a defiant hymn to freedom), "Alligator in the House" (a playful tango about fear), "Mandolin Holy Man" (a sing-along about raising hell in Washington), and "Storm" (a reflection on friendships, drama and isolation). Every track is worth attention and works on several different levels. 'The real standout tracks on Sirens form two epics. The first is a three-part romp following the piratical adventures of Wendy Darling from Peter Pan. Diverging from canon, this sea-shanty has Wendy taking Captain Hook up on his half-serious offer of piracy, much to the dismay of poor Pan. Although "Wendy's" subject and arrangements veer dangerously close to filk, the trilogy's so damned clever that it's sure to become a sing-along favorite. The second epic, "Valkyrie Daughter," is far more somber. Following the bereaved father of a fallen child, this 12-minute piece delves into the heart of grief and acceptance. A spare, slow arrangement highlights the lyrics without slipping into maudlinity. In it's wake, the final song, "Goddess," wraps up the album with an up-tempo, off-kilter look at unrequited love. In a way, 'Goddess' bookends the descent-and-ascension theme within Sirens, in which both artist and audience are drawn down to play and struggle in the depths, then rise again, restored. Song for song, Sirens is Tucker's finest album to date, displaying a maturing artist stretching past her limitations. The arrangements - though sparse - include cellos, vocal harmonies, drums kits and more. Still, it's the emotional range of this album that makes it shine. Tucker is an Artist That Matters, and in an age of shallow music, this Sirens' pull runs deep indeed.' --Phil Brucato in the very first review of SIRENS, for newWitch Magazine.