CD REVIEW: Patti Ecker - Gypsy Lover's Eyes
By Chip Withrow - 03/21/2008 - 07:10 PM EDT
Artist: Patti Ecker
Album: Gypsy Lover's Eyes
Sounds Like: Bonnie Raitt,
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Talk To Ya Mister, Indifferent, Elsie, Learn To Be Lonely
The first song on this fine set lured me in – “Talk To Ya, Mister” boasts Patti Ecker’s sassy, bluesy vocal over a groovy, countrified soul vibe. A whole bunch more of this would be cool, I thought. In the same radio-ready adult-alternative vein as “Mister,” Ecker and her tasty backing players later deliver the mellow, soulful "Shine." But Gypsy Lover’s Eyes is so much more.
Ecker’s album also has a full complement of jazzy tracks, someinfectious pop rockers, and a few simple acoustic numbers. Ecker’s expressive, conversational vocal style works no matter what the genre, and she has chosen top-notch musicians. Ecker herself is a spot-on rhythm guitarist.
On the jazz/standard tunes, Ecker can sound vampy (“Put the Blame On Mame,” the disc’s lone cover), vulnerable (“Baby’s Got the Blues”), gutsy (“Indifferent Love”) and jaunty (“Too Close Too Soon”). “Indifferent” features Ecker’s charmingly dramatic vocal delivering lyrics from a bygone era, punctuated by John Otto’s bouncy clarinet. “Too Close Too Soon” is also a fine vocal performance, this time featuring another gifted soloist, fiddler Rick Veras.
The two pop rockers are nifty fun. “Elsie” is a Cajun-style ode to an oft-misbehaved dog. This would go great on a kids’ album, especially since the lyrics are clever without being condescending. “You Missed Her” is breezy, fun, and kind of tropical, buoyed by L.J. Slavin’s dancing flute.
The simple, folk-country “The Grace of a Song” and the closing “True Love Whispers” are shimmering, hopeful acoustic gems. At the other end of the spectrum is the absolutely smoking “Learn to Be Lonely.” Ecker wails and growls her useful advice like she’s preaching hard-earned truths, and Steve Doyle nails his slide guitar riffs.
“Okay For You” and “Gypsy Lover’s Eyes” are also worth noting because they are so darned infectious “Okay” sounds like Bourbon Street, with Ecker strumming like a Dixieland banjoist. And “Gyspy” begins with Louise Brodie’ mournful violin and turns into a poppy treat with vocals that remind me of a ‘50s- or early ‘60s-style girl group.
Patti Ecker is a gifted songwriter in many styles, and a singer who can tackle any kind of song. (She also does brilliant work on her own background vocals). On Gypsy Lover’s Eyes, Ecker and her accompanying players confidently take us on a tour of many of the traditional styles that mesh into the modern Americana genre.
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