Robinella

Solace for the Lonely
(Dualtone)

In a previous incarnation, Robinella and her husband, multi-instrumentalist and arranger Cruz Contreras, cut Robinella & the CC Band, an album that blended the swing of Bob Wills and Duke Ellington, with a side of Bill Monroe. Solace is less eclectic and more focused, living up to its name with a moody menu heavy on heartache, remorse and melancholy. Robinella's songwriting has taken a great leap forward; these tunes sound like torchy standards that would have been perfect for Patsy Cline or Julie London. The supporting musicians are stellar, providing sympathetic backing for Robinella's subtle vocals, full of understated passion and unspoken regret. The songs are made for late-night rumination, but the sunshine does break through now and again. "Little Boy," a tribute to her new son, is a bouncy bit of Memphis funk complete with Hammond B3 and Hi-hat fills that tip their hat to Howard Grimes (house drummer at Hi Records), and "Oh So Sexy" is a playful hybrid of ska and country two-step.

 
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