CD Review: Rebecca Loebe — Mystery Prize; Playing Red Light Cafe, January 26

[ 0 ] January 26, 2010 |

RebeccaLoebeMysteryPrizeCover

Rebecca Loebe

Mystery
Prize

Self-released

By Scott Roberts

If you had to use one word to
describe Mystery Prize, the winning
new CD and third release from Atlanta
singer/songwriter Rebecca Loebe, “genuine” would be a perfect choice. Some
performers just have a certain knack for emanating a quality that makes
listeners instantly want to be their best friend, and Loebe is definitely one
of those performers. Her crystal clear vocals, occasionally augmented by some
sexy, slight scratchiness, drips with sincerity, friendliness, and optimism in
the face of adversity throughout the album’s 12 musically diverse tracks.

From the piano-driven, jaunty opening waltz-time title track (invoking a
rarely-employed-by-a-female football metaphor in its lyrics) to the serious,
slow, near-dirge closer “Avalanche” — a beautifully-realized ode to the power of
a song featuring Loebe whispering “It’s a dangerous place” at the beginning and
ending with almost two minutes of dramatically-building orchestral flourishes
over a repeated two chords — Loebe’s earnestness is prominently displayed
throughout.

More often than not, the music leans slightly more toward country than
folk or Americana, thanks to the contributions of her excellent assembled musicians,
especially pedal steel player Mark van Allen who adds a perfect playfulness to
the rollicking “Redneck Karaoke Bar” (featuring some tasty backing vocals from
David Berkeley and Danielle Sansone) and a faraway mournfulness to “Land &
Sea” and “Marguerita.”      

But Loebe’s tastes and influences
are wide-ranging as evidenced by the straight-forward acoustic ballad “California,” a song that
would fit in nicely on an Indigo Girls CD, to the New Orleans-inspired “Her In
That Dress.” Loebe is also smart enough to temper her sincerity with a sly
sense of humor as on “Married Man” (“You can’t knit socks for a married man”)
and “Meridian” (“Got a lover who don’t love me, ‘cause that’s just what I
deserve”) so as to never come across as cloying.

The immediacy of Rebecca Loebe’s voice, her varied musical stylings, and
the subtle expertise of producer/arranger Will Robertson all add up to making Mystery Prize much more a prize than a
mystery. 

Category: Atlanta Music News, CD Reviews, Gigs

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