Simone Stevens can sing. The unheralded Brooklyn belter (by way of L.A. and Hawaii) has a confident voice employed without bluster, adding a light country finish -- a twangy trill -- to close lines; she's straight out of the Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, and Belly's Tanya Donelly school. She can write and co-produce, too, which is key, since there's been no shortage of chanteuses working bluesy chamber folk/alt country alleys for many years now. Like Haroula Rose, she obtrudes a direct warmth and sunny avoidance of guile, without trace of Pollyanna palaver (see the utterly welcoming "ABC": "You can come right in/Just open up the door/And slip off those shoes"). From the shuffling "Lady Luck" (be a lady tonight?) to the piano-prettied Lucinda Williams cover, "Right in Time," from lilting violin to peddle steel, Stevens is a constant elation.
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