Laura Hubert

My Girlish Ways

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As the former lead singer of the Leslie Spit Treeo, Laura Hubert mixed a blend of urban folk with pop/rock sensibilities. But on her debut album, the singer showcases some of her sultry vocal jazz capabilities. The opening "Cool Baby" gets off the musical ground slowly, but by the song's bridge both Hubert and her talented supporting cast are on the mark. The vocalist doesn't have an extremely wide vocal range, but most of the time she avoids the clich├ęd "breathy" vocals, ending the track with a Louis Armstrong-like growl. "I'm Not Over You" is a cross between a swing jazz arrangement and Hubert's honky tonk crooning in the style of Brenda Lee or Tammy Wynette. It also features some strong piano playing by Peter Hill. If there's one drawback to the song, it's that it tends to drag about 30 to 40 seconds too long. "Hang Your Head in Shame" is a tighter, country-oriented song that shows another side of Hubert between pedal steel guitar solos. Hubert is best when she is belting out blues numbers like "In My Girlish Days," a track that complements her voice perfectly. She sounds a bit hoarse near its conclusion, though. "Down in the Dumps" is another highlight, as the number has a blues swagger to it that Hubert uses to her benefit. The song's catalyst is a horn section that features saxophone and trumpet. But in some cases, Hubert's voice doesn't mesh with the arrangement, particularly during "Are You Having Any Fun." Sounding as if she wants to break out of her vocal shell again, the song's structure doesn't allow her to have any fun vocally. "Lover, Come Back to Me," the Hammerstein standard, is a great opportunity for Hubert's band to show their chops, and they don't miss the opportunity. "River Stay Away From Me" has Hubert singing with a longing that resembles Connie Francis at certain instances. The only song where the vocalist offers a credible sultry crooning in the vein of Norah Jones or Diana Krall is the pretty "My Kind of Love." Ending with a country-pop track seems a bit out of place, but "Different Drum" resembles her earlier career in the Leslie Spit Treeo. This is a good first effort for Hubert because she doesn't try to drastically alter her style.