When I opened the package that contained Patty Reese’s latest CD, Let In The Sun, I wasn’t sure what to think. I didn’t recognize the name and honestly the cover looked more like a beach album than a blues album.
But appearances can be deceiving, and the person who sent it to me generally has good taste, so I penciled it in for a review and got started on some other projects.
I wish I hadn’t waited so long, because Patty Reese has an amazing voice and Let In The Sun has quickly become one of my favorite releases for this year. There are eleven tracks on the album, with Reese writing nine of them. She’s backed by several good musicians, including Sonny Petrosky on bass and vocals for two cuts; Andy Hamburger on drums; Jonathan Sloane on guitar and vocals for one song; Tommy Lepson on keys as well as vocals on three songs; David Chappell on guitar for one track; and Brian Simms on keys for one track.
A solid blues groove kicks off the album. Is It Too Late For Me? is a tight song with a heavy emphasis on the rhythm section and some nice guitar work. I wasn’t familiar with Reese’s work, but she’s got a great voice and I feel like this is going to be a very good album.
Your Love starts out with a little swing to it and Reese uses her low voice as a gentle purr to entice you into the world of the song. Great lyrics and the song should easily garner some serious air time.
She moves into funky territory with the next song, Soul Satisfier. I’m having flashbacks to the cool sounds of Isaac Hayes – and I’m really digging it. Listen to that horn and the choppy guitar. This is one of those songs that will put a smile on your face and some boogie in your shoes. Go ahead and dance, you know you want to…
She brings the tone and tempo down on I Won’t Let You Down, a beautiful torchy number that is so much fun to listen to. She’s in total control with the song, and the brushes on the drums and the low-key guitar gives you the feel of an intimate club where the singer is wringing every emotion from the words. Gorgeous.
Next up is the title track, Open A Window, Let In The Sun, a gentle number with gospel overtones. It’s appropriate, as the blues and gospel cross each other on some of the best numbers of each genre. Reese’s voice is commanding and trades off nicely with Sloane’s guitar and Lepson’s keys.
We’re back to swinging on Good Neighbor, a bouncy song that moves quickly and reminds us all that we definitely need that good neighbor. This one is a lot of fun and the next block party around here, I’m sure as hell going to crank this one out – loud!
The bass drives us into the follow up track, Radio Song, a softer number that has a slight country feel to it. There’s plenty of soul in it, and for some reason it reminds me a little of The Pointer Sisters. Of course, that could just be me… It’s lovely and just a tad sad.
Reese uses a little Zydeco to kick off the fun Awesome Sauce. This has got to be a great song live as it almost guarantees the audience is going to get up and dance a whole in the floor! I can almost hear the accordion and washboard in the background, but the drums give it that Cajun feel.
I Hear A Lie is a kicker of a song with a strong build up to the music to match the strength in Reese’s vocals. This one has a swampy feel to it, and the old-school flavor is delicious. Another great song…
The previous nine songs were all written by Patty Reese. She saved two covers to end the album. The first is a classic from Nobel Lauriat Bob Dylan. It’s still weird to write that. Anyway, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, seems to fit her and the band like a glove. Lepson’s keys give it that religious fervor and Reese’s voice carries the song in new directions. It’s a bold choice and she delivers.
The final song of the album is Steve Earle’s Goodbye. It’s a quiet ode and Reese’s voice is seamless and beautiful. Her interpretation is heartbreaking and memorable. It’s a strong way to bring the CD to a close – and if you’re anything like me, you will most likely be hitting the repeat button to play it all over again.
Patty Reese is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. If you think that’s sexist of me, I’m just stating the facts. I know sometimes we get hung up more on looks, but I get hung up on talent, and she’s got plenty! Some of her choices veer away from more traditional forms of the blues, but blues is the starting point for each and every number.
As an artist, she goes where the music takes her. Aside from being a wonderful singer and a good acoustic guitar player, her songwriting cannot be forgotten. She has a way of turning a phrase that gives her music a surprising twist.
If you find yourself intrigued, be sure to check out her website at http://pattyreese.com/. You can read more about this album, her previous works, the amazing number of awards she has taken home and even sample a few songs.
I’m embarrassed to say that despite only being 120 miles or so away from her usual stomping grounds, I have never seen her perform live. Sometime in 2017, that’s going to change. You might want to make that same effort!