Retro (ever so slightly) jazzy country from NoLa chanteuse.
Only six tracks for this reviewer to consider here, However, bearing in mind how said reviewer is usually late with submissions, and late to the party in general then six is plenty. Particularly for a debut solo release, as we have here from New Orleans resident Gina Leslie.
New Orleans, you say? Some ‘Second Line’ jazz maybe? Something else reminiscent of ‘The Big Easy’? Well, no. But also maybe yes. There’s a distinct late night, lounge jazz, smoke filled bar vibe to these slow, gently melancholic country(ish) ballads. The overall result is very appealing – shades of Norah Jones perhaps. One might even contemplate Willie Nelson tipping his bandana to this collection, particularly the mellowness of the acoustic guitar chords and figures that permeate throughout.
With such a ‘mood’ record, it’s hard to pick standout tracks. It’s a rewarding ‘whole’ of a listen. However, the reviewer’s task is to reflect on some worthy points, so here goes. Opener ’High and Dry’ is straight up minor key country sadness. Very much a signal for the ‘mood’, as was stated before. Banjo and pedal steel are the understated engine room of the song. ‘Little Company’ is an organ and jazzy acoustic chords lament. There’s a bar somewhere, perhaps in a David Lynch or Coen Brothers film, with Gina Leslie, semi-obscured by cigarette smoke, bearing her heart and soul. Or there ought to be. ‘Month of Sundays’ carries that vibe along; Patsy Cline or Willie’s own ‘Crazy’ caresses the song’s soft edges as they float by. Closer ‘How Many Waltzes Is Too Many Waltzes?’, a question rarely asked, is rather nice. The Hammond organ echoes, burbles and bubbles along. Booker T. would approve. Just the keys and acoustic guitar here, but that works just fine. ‘I’ve been crying in three quarter time’ is an excellent, repeated closing line.
Nothing boastful, boisterous or overstated here. It’s mellow, somewhere between wistful and downright heartbroken, and an engaging, endearing set of songs.
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