For her third effort as a soloist, Mid-Atlantic singer Sue Matthews has opted to go with an agenda of standards, show tunes and traditional pop, all of which of she sings with an innate appreciation of intimacy and savoir-faire, mixing some blues inflection and torch where it makes sense. She also has a way about her that gives one a warm, cuddly feeling after listening to her do something like "Down with Love" where she gets a big assist from veteran bassist Keter Betts and long time Washington, D. C. guitarist, Steve Abshire. The same two show up for a rueful, blueful version of "Rocks in My Bed". At the same time, Matthews can wrench at your heart strings with a lovely Stephen Sondheim "Losing My Mind" from Follies
. Another heart twister, "Here's to Life" is countered by a folk like "Caledonia" done A Capella showing her Irish roots which is also offset by a down and dirty, Sophie Tucker like "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues". Matthews does all of these wonderful vocal things with on the mark articulation, phrasing that's attuned to the meaning and direction of the lyrics. She has the ability to use her band members to her best advantage. For instance, she hones in on the melodically rich and lyrically tender "My Romance" with strong and equal participation from pianist Stefan Scaggiari as well as trading phrases with guitarist Gerry Kunkel. Because of her willingness to share the song, musicians must like to work with her putting her in a class of vocalists that a Helen Merrill belongs to. This album is highly recommended.
To learn more about Matthews, visit her web site at www.suematthewsmusic.com.
Personnel: Sue Matthews - Vocals; Stefan Scaggiari - Piano; Keter Betts, Viktor Dvoskin - Bass; Steve Abshire, Gerry Kunkel - Guitar; Frank Russo - Drums