Wensday

Torch Rock
(Desert Dreams Records)

Seductive jazz singer Wensday made her first Phoenix appearance at Alice Cooper's 2006 "Christmas Pudding" concert, where she performed a soulful version of Cooper's power ballad "Only Women Bleed." That track is included on Torch Rock, with ad-libbed lines like "Just kick that jackass out of town." The other 12 tracks have a similar piano-driven rock sound, gliding on pristine production by guitarist Dick Wagner (Cooper's longtime collaborator) and a cream-of-the-crop crew of guest musicians that includes pianist Fred Mandel (Queen), drummer Alex Cyrell (Sarah Vaughn), guitarist Randy Reinhard (Ray Price), and Nils Lofgren (Bruce Springsteen). And while Wensday's smoky mezzo-soprano would be at home in any dark cabaret, her lyricism and lovely looks separate her from other lounge lizards. Witness the roadhouse rocker "Bulldog Blues," where Wensday sings, "Well, I been working on this song since 1994/and now everybody tells me they don't play this kind of music anymore," before crooning about how her bulldog was a raised a Nazarene. With solid songs, raven locks, red lips, and long lashes, the attractive chanteuse stands out — especially since she's also adorned with numerous tattoos from her time as a professional body piercer, something that prompted Cooper to refer to her as "the other girl next door."

 
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