[Release date 07.08.15]
Best known (obviously) for her association with the Ally McBeal, singer songwriter Vonda Shepard has released five albums and toured extensively in Europe since the five season TV series run ended 13 years ago.
Rookie, her 14th album, was funded through Kickstarter and finds Shepard in a more upbeat mood than on previous albums, with half of the songs harking back to the soul sound of the seventies, and the other half her more familiar piano/vocals ballad style.
Those who contributed to the $35,000 raised through Kickstarter may, however feel a little short changed the album runs out at a smidgeon under 36 minutes, including two live ‘bonus’ tracks originally from her 2008 From The Sun album. In themselves, they’re a strange inclusion given both songs appeared on the 2009 From The Sun Tour – Live in San Javier release.
Strip those away and you’ve not got much more than 30 minutes worth of new material. But never mind the width, what of the quality? Well, the trademark piano ballads are certainly up to scratch with the compulsive ‘Long For Days’ being the pick of the bunch.
Elsewhere the surprise is just how ‘black’ Shepard sounds when she lets rip on the gospel/ soul numbers that echo the heydays of Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. But it’s the Lady Marmalade infused title track that really oozes pizazz. And the two styles sit surprisingly comfortably together as evidenced by the gospel fuelled ballad ‘Tell My Body’. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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