One of the most fiercely independent musicians of the 1990s and beyond, singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked was also one of the most eclectic, with a body of recorded work that included politically charged folk, punk rock, '40s-era swing, soul and just about anything else that sparked her voracious creative appetite. Shocked's professional music career began in 1986 with the release of The Texas Campfire Tapes, an unauthorized recording of a live performance that brought her to the attention of Mercury Records. Her debut album, Short Sharp Shocked (1988), made her a star in the alt-folk scene, but she quickly bucked expectations by following it with Captain Swing (1989), a collection of up-tempo swing numbers, and Arkansas Traveler (1992), which filtered traditional folk and country through the curious spectrum of minstrel songs. Mercury eventually parted ways with Shocked, who set up her own label, Mighty Sound, for an array of releases in the late '90s and early 2000s, including forays into blues, gospel and Mexican canciones. However, she attracted more attention for statements that were perceived as homophobic in the wake of her conversion to born-again Christianity, which did much to undercut the goodwill she had generated among a wide array of demographics. In spite of these problems, Shocked's best work preserved her status as one of independent music's most versatile and accomplished performers.