Kate Schutt

No Love Lost

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The operative word for vocalist/guitarist/composer Kate Schutt's third CD is sweetness. Armed with a stack of original songs based on love gained, frittered away, unrequited, and fully embraced, Schutt couches them in a framework of jazz-hued arrangements that will also speak to pop and romantically inclined audiences. An American expatriated to Canada since 2005, the vocalist/guitarist sounds like a softer Billie Holiday, more at ease and much less derivative than Madeleine Peyroux. She has a soul sister in her approach -- West Michigan's Daisy May Erlewine. Schutt has also surrounded herself with a sweet instrumental ensemble that emphasizes subtle nuances rather than slam-bang bop. Pianist Mark Shilansky is a particular treat to hear, while ever-present trumpeter Patrick Boyle and guitarist Duane Andrews add much to the musical fabric of this collection of subtle yet direct tunes. The great Toni Lynn Washington adds backup vocals, and the excellent bluesman Paul Reddick is heard on harmonica on one cut, the light swing jazz and rhythm guitar infused "Wrecking Ball" -- the epitome of cool. A string quartet is featured for "How Much In Love," the emotional opposite of Holiday's "Don't Explain," while the bloom of discovery is fully explored during "The Young." A country-hued "The Moon Got Broken" is a song of reminiscence and regret, and the epitaph waltz "Mary" is about a deceased friend and nurse, sporting the poignant lyric "you keep it white, but your shoes are warm." Schutt cuddles up to her jazz influences closely during the desirous, slinky, three-note blues groove of "Peter Please," the old-timey, easy swinging, carefree turned careless love song "Two Halves," and the wonderfully light New Orleans shuffle "Raining," where Schutt's undeniable and intimate sex appeal draws you in. Also included in this clearly complete project: the slow surrender song "I'm Yours," the calm before the storm cautionary tale of pending heartbreak "Calamity," and a shuffle based tongue-in-cheek cover of Sheila E.'s tale of opulence and bigness "Glamorous Life." A delightful effort from top to bottom, Schutt has hit a home run with this recording where no love lost actually means all loves found.

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