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It is odd that Rebecca DuMaine should have chosen "Alone Again (Naturally)" to decorate a pandemic-influenced recording. Quite a few musicians have, almost perforce, referred to the circumstances of the Covid months, but this song can be oddly compelling for someone who remembers the contrasting emotional environment in which it was recorded in 1972. It was about personal loss, and powerfully so, but certainly not about widespread disappearances, a modern version of a plague year. DuMaine's matter-of-fact delivery here is more of a summary statement than cri de couer. The same could be said about "Just Friends" and "The Gentleman is a Dope." These are not exactly dark songs, but regretful, surely. They do not exactly come across that way. DuMaine does not do melodrama, which, under the circumstances, may be just what a cabaret audience in Northern California needs. They have enough on their plate with wildfires, drought, and Covid. Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," on the other hand, elicits rueful agreement in the later decades of one's life. DuMaine is not precisely cheerful in her interpretation, but her bright vocal register does make one wonder "what would Joni do?" The same thing seems to happen with "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" and "Sunny." These are tunes that can have considerable punch to themwitness what Frank Sinatra did with "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" years ago. You have to work to make them bland, but DuMaine manages.
Everything about the session is middle-of-the-road, the band (which includes DuMaine's father, Dave Miller, on piano), never straying too far from the basics, rhythmically or harmonically. All of this is perfectly acceptable if you are not expecting much emotional depth. It is a pleasant enough outing, and certainly, there are audiences for just that. Not quite dinner jazz, but somewhere beyond musical theater too. A good digestif, but hardly a main course.
Just Friends; Alone Again (Naturally); Samba de Mon Coeur Qui Bat; The Gentleman is a Dope; Someday,Someday; Both
Sides Now; Time to Get Unstuck; As Long As I Live; On a Clear Day; I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan; Cry Me a River;
La Vie en Rose/Au Privave; Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; Sunny