Annette Hanshaw, Famous Torch Singer of the Late '20s

Annette Hanshaw is one of my favourite singers from the Jazz Age! She has a really sweet and soothing voice, and she recorded a lot of tunes over her time as a singer.




I've liked old jazz for a good few years now, ranging from sweet songs like the ones written by Irving Berlin, to all the raunchy stuff that Lucille Bogan sang. When I started art school a couple years, I made a friend who introduced me to a whole range of artists from that time period, and we shared singers that we like with each other, Annette Hanshaw being one of them. I first properly started listening to her stuff towards the tail end of 2021, I remember I was sitting in a cafe, listening to music, and a song of hers came up on a "radio" on Spotify (this was back when I still had a smartphone).

There's something really quite dreamy and carefree about the lyrics that Annette sings; most of her songs have themes of falling in love/out of love, whether it's with certain people or the world around her. Although she mentions things and ideas that have long since expired in the current world we live in, the core themes and feelings expressed by her are still very much familiar and easy to relate to even a century later. Though we can owe most of this flowery and upbeat stuff to the strong censoring and restrictions of what music could be played on radio back in the 1920s, it's still quite a nice break from the very angst-driven, shouty songs that float around now (but don't get me wrong, I LOVE some of that stuff, especially Limp Bizkit).

Another thing I love about her music is actually the format on which they were recorded. Given that the recordings themselves were made through mono-sound systems, and on rather primitive technology of shellac records and single-track mixing (though state-of-the-art for its time), all the songs have a muffled and distinctly analogue quality that I think you just can't replicate anymore! If ever I managed to get my hands on perfect replicas of all the old tech used to give it that sound, you bet I'd try and recreate some of Annette Hanshaw's songs myself >:D