How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
New Orleans blues singer Ingrid Lucia took four hours to record the bakers dozen of tunes on Don't Stop, the independent release with her band The Flying Neutrinos. Lucia and The Flying Neutrinos have been touring, writing and recording together for at least two decades (the group started as a family band) and such alacrity in the studio isn't unusual for this experienced and close-knit bunch. What puzzles is that Lucia and The Flying Neutrinos haven't received more mainstream attention.
The focal point of the band's sound is Lucia's distinctive voice itself, with its trembling vibrato and growling charges into the melody. Lucia's delivery does beg comparisons to the earthy phrasings of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, but Lucia is no imitator and The Flying Neutrinos are no Dixieland tribute band. Lucia and the band do draw from their Storyville roots, but their music is fresh and hipand unassumingly so.
To introduce the new CD in New York Lucia and select members of the band played two gigs here in December, 2007the Rodeo Bar, their usual stomping ground, on Dec. 2nd and Arlene's Grocery on Dec. 3rd, this last a showcase of Lucia's originals, with "Playing By The Rules," a dulcet mid-tempo in three from her album Almost Blue (Independent, 2004) and the provocative Latin number "Let Me In from Fortune (Independent, 2003) being the rare departures from her usual blues-dominated set lists. Lucia's live performances demonstrate an exhaustive repertoire of all types of blues, from tongue-in-cheek burners to introspective ballads, some bawdy, some touching. Always, however, Lucia projects an optimism contrary to the genre; to this point she closed the set at Arlene's Grocery with the first tune from the new CD, "A Place In The Sun," an upbeat romp featuring Burt Cotton (guitar), Jesse Boyd (bass) and Gerald French (drums).
Don't Stop pays homage to Lucia's hometown and each tune celebrates the diverse musical traditions born in that city. On the Hank Williams' song "Mind Your Own Business, we hear the early stirrings of rock 'n' roll; Steve Earle's "Hometown Blues evokes the cowboy music of the western plains; and on the lone ballad of the disc, "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?," we find a wistful reminder of the Louis Armstrong-Billie Holiday duet. Even if you've never been there, Lucia's music makes you want to pack your bags and go.
Track Listing: A Place In The Sun; New Orleans; Mind Your Own Business; If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight); There'll Be Some Changes Made; Hometown Blues; Big Long Slidin' Thing; Margie; Getting Some Fun Out Of Life; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?; Down Home; Why Don't You Go Down To New Orleans?; It's A Long Lonely Highway.
Personnel: Ingrid Lucia: vocals; Duke Heitger: trumpet, vocals (4); Craig Klein: trombone, vocals (8); John Fohl: guitar; Bert Cotton: guitar; Gerald French: drums, vocals (12); Jesse Boyd: bass.