Tracy Shedd’s “Whatever It Takes” at first sounds as if it’s going to turn into one of those über-positive “don’t let life get you down” girlpop rants, but no. It’s more about evading the suffocation that romance can bring: “She’s a killer/ One day she’ll need a match/ Everyone knows / Everyone but me.” Shedd’s guitar fuels the drama with a needling riff that you feel in your teeth. It turns out she is good at wringing dark and joyous tones from an amplifier. For years Shedd played a guitar made by Micro-Frets, one of the most underrated brands of all time — like those guitars, she has the goods but is relatively unknown.
Shedd lives in Tucson and was born and raised in Florida. She went to grade school with the daughter of Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, but it’s questionable if any of that Southern rock rubbed off. She’s more like the lovechild of Liz Phair and Neil Young, a mix of Phair’s bleakness and Young’s earnest approach to melody. Shedd learned classical piano and played trumpet in high school, and her music contains influences from her mother, who was a Patsy Cline fan and herself a semi-pro country singer.
As the story goes, her family stored mom’s PA system in the living room, which Shedd used as a play toy. There was a time she fancied becoming a concert pianist, but that faded when punk came along and Shedd discovered that she was simpatico with bands such as Sonic Youth, with whom she shares a distinct facility for feedback.
Skyline Union and Kelsea Rae Little also perform.
TRACY SHEDD: Tin Can Alehouse, Thursday, December 22, 8 p.m. 619-955-8525. $5.