Laura Welland

Dissertation on the State of Bliss

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The cycle of love lost and found is the stated theme of Laura Welland's sophomore recording. A wealth of standards are put together in something of a chronological order to depict the forms of love and the desire for love over one's lifetime. The album opens with a series of "young love"-themed songs, full of vim and vigor with honesty and innocence built into the old Gershwin (among others') lyrics as needed. As the album progresses, the tone turns darker and thicker and Welland does her best Eartha Kitt renditions of "Fever." This becomes a more erotic session, which eventually turns sour with a cello-laced rendition (really a bowed bass) of "The Thrill Is Gone." In turns, after this point, there's a darker mood through a series related to the dismissal of love and an eventual turn back to the light for the ending series of tunes. Welland's vocals take on new varieties on this album from her previous outings, working their general sparseness into a breathy sound for the smoky numbers, and into a blank naïveté in the happier ones. The band picks up quite a bit here, though, with some exceptional ambient playing on the part of Anne Drummond's flute, John Clayton's bass, and most notably, Mike LeDonne's organ playing. Welland is still mastering her sound and seems to be getting a handle on how, exactly, she wants to sound. This album is both interesting for hearing a variety of uses of a relatively simple sound and phrasing style, and as a case study of a vocalist's further development.

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