Vocalist Paula Lammers, a music major at Gustavus Adolphus College and holder of a Masters degree in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota, almost gave up performing to devote her energies to teaching. Then the Minnesota Zephyr, a dinner excursion train, clanged into town. She got a job there, riding the rails and singing songs from the forties. A performer was reborn.
Lammers' debut, A Blanket of Blue, digs into the Great American Songbook with style. "I Thought About You," "Isn't it Romantic," "Honeysuckle Rose," "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," and "Too Close for Comfort" will be familiar to any music fan worth his or her salt; and Lammers and her banda crack quintetgive these tried and trues and new shine.
Clarity of tone seems Lammers most distinguishing vocal characteristic, along with a seemingly effortless delivery. Her take on "Honeysuckle Rose" has a bouncy feeling, with pianist Peter Schimke opening up with a Waller-esque verve. Lammers' knowing take on this classic, especially her sly and sultry turn of phrase on "when I'm taking sips, from your tasty lips, seems the honey fairly drips," highlights the song's playfully salacious mood and just might send you off for a cold shower.
Ten of the eleven tunes here are covers, and Lammers takes a turn at tunesmithing on "Goodbye... Again," a beautifully melancholy ballad that showcases her crystalline voice nicely.
A strong debut; it makes me want to jump on that Minnsota Zephyr.
I Thought About You; Isn't It Romanitci; The Moon and I; Honeysuckle Rose; Gentle Rain; In
the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; Too Close for Comfort; Meditation; Goodbye... Again;
More; Under a Blanket of Blue.
Paula Lammers: vocals; Peter Schimke: keyboards; Clay Moore: guitar; Billy Peterson: bass;
Kenny Horst: drums; Gary Berg: saxophone and harmonica.