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Hope Waits - Introducing Hope Waits

Spann Records


Emerging from a troubled up-bringing and buttressed by her singing in Southern Baptist choirs, this Louisiana native comes to the singer-songwriter world steeped in roots. Her music is tempered by blues, gospel, torchy and New Orleans jazz, folk, soul and whatever else she sees fit to create the moods found here. She draws from the same wellspring as Billie Holiday and other tortured chanteuses. The closest modern-day comparison would be to Madeline Peyroux with a smattering of Norah Jones. Hope’s voice ranges from a seductive purr to a loud whisper. The interpretations of interesting covers fare just as well as the four band originals. Guitars of all sorts, horns, accordions and keyboards drift in-and-out of the mix. The arrangements of producer Peter Malick complement and enhance the tunes.

The seduction begins with her rendition of Jackie Wilson’s “I’ll Be Satisfied” taken at a slow teasing pace. Her phrases are dragged out for maximum effect. Torch song territory is visited again in “Yesterdays”, which features the extra attraction of a New Orleans jazz horn section. A lazy dream-like stroll through the streets of The Big Easy is portrayed in the original “Fortune Teller”. Organ splashes and accordions underscore her musing: “Your soul is like a river, it just don’t know how to flow”. “You Crossed The Line” has a guitar-powered rhythm that could have been taken from a Bonnie Raitt song. The vocal here is super-charged with female authority. The hurt is tangible in her voice as she mourns the loss of her mother who was tragically murdered in “The Ballad Of Judith Anne”. A mysterious atmospheric musical approach suits her longing to know more about her mother’s life. The distorted blues guitar of Peter Malick and Jeff Turmes chug along with Phil Parlapiano’s accordion fills on Don Robey’s “Mother In Law Blues”. The old chestnut “Come Rain Or Shine” is taken at a snail’s pace as Hope’s voice soars to the top of her register. Tom Wait’s (no relation) rhythm-driven “Get Behind The Mule” is given a pretty straight reading and her voice fits it like a glove. The listener is bid adieu with a lilting stroll through the ether, floating on the cloud that is Peter Malick’s chiming guitar, the sole accompaniment of “Ignatius”. You are never quite sure if the singer is pondering on a lover or a deity.

A heady infusion of emotion, be it lighthearted or introspective, make for one intriguing effort. The music benefits from Hope’s ability to absorb many musical genres to enhance her own sound. Bits and pieces of R&B, soul, jazz, blues and the traditional pop singer lend themselves to this very moving singer-songwriter’s muse.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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