Sharon Little

Perfect Time for a Breakdown

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Sharon Little got her start singing jazz and blues standards in Philadelphia clubs. That's not what she's doing here, on her first album to be released by a national label, following the self-released full-length Drawing Circles and a seven-song EP also, confusingly enough, called Perfect Time for a Breakdown. (It shares two songs with this release.) Having hooked up with Scot Sax, formerly of the band Wanderlust, she is performing all originals, and doing so in a throaty soulful and bluesy voice over lazy folk-rock arrangements. The influences of Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin can be felt, but Little is not as histrionic as either one. In fact, she is, in a way, closer to a singer like Van Morrison as she grabs onto a phrase and repeats it to create a trance-like effect. Emotions run high on her and Sax's songs, but the breakdown the title speaks of never quite arrives, as the singer seems less anguished than mesmerized by the power of love. For those who have never heard Little before, this will be a powerful debut; for the few who have been following her all along, it will seem like a breakthrough.

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