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Shannon Brackett brings her noir-shaded folk back to Santa Monica

Don’t let the smile fool you: Shannon Brackett can channel a broken heart

Onstage and in her eye-catching landscape photos, Shannon Brackett cultivates a provocative sense of mystery. Music was a dream deferred for years until an unnamed health crisis rearranged her priorities. The Oklahoma-raised songwriter says she’d like to live in L.A., but shuttles between hotbeds of creative inspiration in California, Texas and New Mexico, where she’s maintained a home base in Santa Fe. That may be where she collects her mail, but she spends more time in her truck on the road. That footloose spirit informs the piercing vulnerability in her music, a kind of noir-shaded folk structured around delicately picked jazz progressions.

“I haven’t seen four days beyond this highway maze / The fields are paved with gold / My heart I bought and
sold / Oh, the hours, they pass / Like quicksand in a flask / And I don’t know if I’ll ever get to you”

Themes of searching and broken-hearted yearning fill Brackett’s first EP, “The Hours,” quietly released last December. “Ocean” references a couple “swayin’ to the sounds of ZZ Top” by a honky-tonk’s jukebox light; “Letters” beautifies the memory of a bum ex-lover with poetic imagery and a haunting melody. One on one, Brackett is playful and light. But onstage, the leggy redhead’s cool self-possession casts a pensive mood that can transfix even casual barstool listeners.

Brackett first performed at TRiP in August; she returns Friday night with Tom Bremer, a solid, intuitive guitarist probably most familiar to Southland audiences for his MVP role in country thrush Alice Wallace’s band. Vocally, he and Brackett share a warm harmony blend that, combined with his electric leads, will likely heat up their hour-long set.

— Bliss Bowen

Shannon Brackett returns to TRiP (2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica) at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30. Cover is $7. Call (310) 396-9010 for venue info or visit shannonbrackettmusic.com.