Dana Gillespie

Cat's Meow

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The cover art for Dana Gillespie's Cat's Meow suggests it's some kind of retro throwback, its hip cat looking very much midcentury modern. Appropriately, the music on this coolly sophisticated, slyly gritty collection of blues does indeed feel classic -- it's not a stretch to think of Gillespie and her sympathetic quintet playing these 11 songs in a club in the late '50s -- but it has a lithe, modern feel, both in Gillespie's playful songs and phrasing and how the group eases in bits of soul-jazz, Chicago blues, slow-burning southern R&B, and other elements from the '60s and beyond. This means Gillespie maintains a specific vibe but isn't fussy, a cardinal sin of so many traditionalists: she's having fun with her songs and with her band, so it's hard not to have fun with Cat's Meow as well.

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