Thursday, February 5, 2009
Holly Cole's Got Soul
I have an odd way of discovering music. I don't listen to music on the radio, and I can't afford to hang at my computer long enough to taste the offerings that NPR sends me. (I'm lucky if I can dip into my Paste magazine monthly CD these days.) I read reviews in magazines and newspapers, try to keep an up-to-date wish list when I hit the used music stores, and subscribe to the BMG Music Service (ah, a RECORD CLUB--how retro!), but sometimes I really bump into something through blind luck.
Take Holly Cole. She's a young singer who has been releasing jazz CDs for years. I've been intrigued by her material because in addition to the standards, she attempts to interpret modern works by "contemporary" songwriters like Tom Waits.
I bought Holly Cole CDs because, quite frankly, the price was right at my used music stores. It seemed like I never paid over six bucks, and I was always glad I didn't because as much as I liked the idea of an attractive woman tackling the catalog, she always bored me. Too "let's slow down the rhythm, in fact, let's lack rhythm and then we'll be hip" for me. Her voice lacked character to my ear--way too much bluesy-floosy with no variation.
I must have four CDs by Holly Cole. I only pulled the trigger on her latest release because it was one of those "Buy 2 and get 6 free" deals that BMG trumpets occasionally. Man, am I glad I followed that impulse!
2007's eponymous Holly Cole is a stunner. This Canadian chanteuse bites into the standards with a growl here, a long vocal line there, a pulsing throb as an accent--this gal can sing! Her song selection is impeccable--Jobin's "Waters of March"; Mercer and Mancini's "Charade"; Berlin's "Be Careful, It's My Heart" and "Reaching for the Moon"; and, as lagniappe, "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and "Alley Cat Song." (The latter of which an instrumental version was an indelible childhood memory for me.)
Oh, I've done the hard work for you. Proceed directly to this gem. Dip into my links, and then reward Holly. Ask a local promoter to get her to appear in your town. She's exciting, and deserves your support!