Thursday, November 12, 2015

Laura Tate – I Must Be Dreaming | Album Review

Laura Tate – I Must Be Dreaming

Self Release

12 tracks / 40:37

Laura Tate has done quite a lot with her life, as she has forged successful careers as an actress and award-winning filmmaker, as well as being an advocate for educational and humanitarian causes. But if you are reading this you are probably most interested in her singing. She has an impressive voice and has not limited herself to just one genre; she is equally capable in singing rock, jazz, country, blues, or musical theatre.

This is fortunate for us, as her new album, I Must Be Dreaming, is a wonderful blend of cool American music, and a worthy tribute to the master songwriter, Mel Harker. Though Laura started out in Dallas and now lives near El Paso, she spent a good portion of her life in Los Angeles, where she became acquainted with Harker. She used some of his songs on her previous two albums, but this time she set aside all twelve of the tracks for his work, and it is awesome!

Tate took care of the vocals on this new release (of course), and she was joined in a Los Angeles studio by a fine crew that included Terry Wilson (guitars, bass, and drums), Billy Watts (guitar), Lee Thornberg (brass), Paulie Cerra (sax), David Fraser (harmonica), Lewis Stephens and Jeff Paris (keys), Karen Hammack (piano), Teresa James (backing vocals), and Wally Ingram (percussion). This is a huge crew, but they were needed to get all of the sounds that can be heard on I Must Be Dreaming.

The songs cover a lot of ground, but they are all have positive feel and the lyrics are clever with vivid imagery that draws the listener in. Though she chose material from Harker’s existing library of work, these songs all sound like they were put together with her voice in mind. It kicks off with a country Rocker, “Snake Tattoo,” and from then on no two songs sound the same. There is lounge jazz for the title track, a beautiful ballad (“If Ever Forever Should End”), a little “Cowboy Jazz,” and even the reggae/ska-inspired “Counting Up the Ways.” Besides these examples, there are bits and pieces of blues, rock, western swing and big band.

Throughout all of this, Laura maintains her cool and exerts an impressive vocal presence. She is able to sing brassy, sultry, and rocking sounds with no problem, and doing a country twang or bold blues is no problem at all. But this is not just the output of a talented voice - she is able to overlay heartfelt emotion, which moves her abilities to a higher plane. There are also no issues with hearing her, as the engineering and mixing are first rate; I have no complaints at all with this disc, which is a rare thing.

I Must Be Dreaming is a fun album, and Laura Tate has the chops to pull off all of these well-written songs. Check it out and hear it for yourself, and keep an eye on her website to see if she has any shows coming up!

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