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CD REVIEW: Erin Shields - I'd Rather Be Lonely
By Dan Cohen - 12/23/2010 - 01:12 PM EST

Artist: Erin Shields
Album: I'd Rather Be Lonely
Genre: Jazz
Sounds Like: diana krall, diane schuur
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Best Songs: I'll Be Seeing You; My Funny Valentine; Love Me Or Leave Me
CD Review: Erin Shields is a talented singer, she's put together a fine band, and they've recorded some gems of the American songbook. End of story. Not earth-shaking, but not half bad. David Shenton has done some nice arranging, particularly on My Funny Valentine, which is given the full 'Moonlight Sonata' treatment, and Ms. Shields' soaring vocals in this tune are bold. risky and envigorating, something few other singers would try. There's a fresh, bouncy feel to Love Me or Leave Me, with great playing by Stan Killian on sax and bassist Matt Aronoff. And sensitive playing and arranging througout by Mr. Shenton (dig the strings in I'll Be Seeing You!).

Ms. Shields has a nice voice, but to my taste a bit too reverential approach to the material. Too many nice round tones. I'm all for good diction, but that's not all I'm for. You're not unmiked in a Broadway theatre, where diction would be paramount. And the schoolmarmishly precise articulating of  'the chestnuT Tree, the wishinG Well' merely calls attention to itself.  It's a very carefully arranged and well-produced studio album (kudos to producer/engineer John P. Hopkins), but Shields needs to cultivate the looseness and command that comes from live playing. Having said that, I like her sound. I love scat, and while her scatting may be a bit self-conscious on first and last tunes-- hell! She scats! You go, girlfriend!

A debut album, to be sure. She didn't even put her website on album. In this day and age (though she included it in accompanying note). But there's definitely a voice there.  Imagine if she quits her day job! Could be...who knows?

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