Opera singer turned freelance singer-songwriter Sally Drutman appeared to come as a sudden appearance last July, when she released her dreamy debut single “Milky Blue” as Sally Louise. Less than a year later, Louise wasted no time expanding her stylistic palette through an extensive collection of 10 self-possessed songs with “My Hands Are On Fire,” available May 14 via Desert Flower Records.
On this first full album (itself an increasingly rare occurrence as more and more artists stick to the release of singles and EPs), it’s impressive how quickly Louise is ‘is installed in her compositional identity: a fluid elixir of pop, soul, folk – and in the case of “I Won’t Call Your Bluff”, she even employs elements of the doo wop of the 50s.
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But none of that would work if Louise wasn’t also a confident singer whose classical training gives her high pitch security and effortless intonation. There are simple, catchy songs like “Bodily Exile” – a four-chord hymn of self-realization and liberation – and the slightly scornful pop-rock track “Sighs”, but it also stretches and flies away. on more dynamic vocally tracks like “Honey Hold On” and “Never Be the Same Again”.
Whatever the song, Louise sings with conviction, as if each line contains a new cathartic revelation. “Honey Hold On” is particularly fascinating as the singer accompanies herself on the electric guitar and gives a passive and aggressive farewell to a former lover that echoes the sentiment of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”: the shadow of my hair against the floor I can’t sleep very well without your shoes at the door? / And at the same time, all those pills haven’t reached my heart / Honey, I hope you hold on tonight. ”
Throughout the album there are also brief flirtations with gospel music, including “Yoli’s Shoes,” a low-key ode to empowerment that uses almost choral textures with uplifting results. Sally Louise is accompanied on various tracks by Jordan Rabinowitz on bass and drummer Chris Palace. But in terms of emotional resonance, the singer-songwriter does more in moments with less instrumentation, when her vocal sincerity and technical skills grab the spotlight.
Sally Louise plays her album release show, with Siena and Lily Bogas, Friday, May 14, 8 p.m., at Jurassic Farms, 110 Weidner St., Rochester. $ 5 (outdoor event, masks required).
Daniel J. Kushner is the artistic writer for CITY. He can be reached at [email protected]