Friday, September 11, 2015

Lorraine Feather, Flirting with Disaster

Lorraine Feather, accomplished singer and songwriter, is to me one of those who are, in Duke's phrase, "beyond category." That is not to say that there aren't categories one could and perhaps should apply to her music. And on the internet, I know I had better come up with categories if I want my articles to be read. So yes, this is contemporary jazz, songs that might be appreciated by anyone out there with a little sensitivity, as sung by a golden voice of great character and musicality.

I've appreciated everything I have been able to hear of hers (and you might type her name in the search box above if you wonder what I've said about the others). The new one, Flirting with Disaster (Jazzed Media 1072), continues her progression, and may in fact be a breakthrough album in terms of public attention, which she very much deserves.

There are 11 originals to be heard, written by Lorraine and various co-writers. They are all about love, relationships, the fullness of promise and the emptiness of loss, or both in the complexities of life. She is on a lyrical level into the sort of poetic, romantic yet realist situational story-song that resonates with (if you need precedent) that later period of Joni Mitchell when she was jazz-inflected yet still strongly personal. It's about being an adult with feelings in a world that might open to beauty or just as well collapse into a cold, empty absence.

Some teacher in college once hipped me to the idea that writers of an autobiographical sort sometimes create a difficult living zone in order to have something interesting to write about. That may be true but Lorraine is not about that, not about creating a self-story sensation so much as expressing a poetic universal, about capturing the resonating feelings centered around the beginning of relationships, their moments of fulfillment or perhaps the sad closing aftermaths. It's about the fragility of it all. And if you think that is interesting and want some excellent music themed in this way, this is for you.

Now, reflective songs like this are all-too-rare these days it seems to me, but more than that, Lorraine makes beauty out of it. The songs, her expressive and very unique vocal instrument, and the arrangements are all things that set her apart. Not to mention winter, which she gets beautifully insightful about on "Feels Like Snow" here. Some of us feel the winter more lately I suppose than others, but it is a season that has symbolic significance. And Lorraine gets that.

Well so what's so "beyond category" about it all? It's music that anyone, virtually anyone who looks for great lyrics, wonderful songs and beautiful singing will appreciate, I do think. Yesterday was Lorraine's birthday, as I understand it. She's the sort of artist whose birthday needs celebrating, to my mind. This is central contemporary music. You feel it might be your birthday when you hear her music. It's special in that sort of way. It's music that you wish long dead friends were still around for, because you wish you could play it for them. So you play it for yourself instead.

Just hear the album! Buy it if you want some great songs and singing in your life.

No comments:

Post a Comment