With her last release, the powerful Sugar on the Floor, Lynn Drury came into her own as a singer-songwriter. Backed by what might humorously be called the Royal Fingerbowl mob, with drummer Carlo Nuccio as the producer, Matt Perrine contributing arrangements and guitarist Alex McMurray offering stellar support, Drury’s passionate tomboy grace found appropriate accompaniment.
Drury did not rest on her laurels, turning to John Porter, a veteran British producer (Roxy Music, Smiths etc.) with a hit pedigree who’s done outstanding work with local artists (Jon Cleary, Tommy Malone) since setting up shop in New Orleans. Their collaboration has produced the formidable piece of Americana, Come to My House. The songs reflect Drury’s growing self-awareness and confidence as a vocalist. Porter’s approach treats her as if she were a Grammy-winning diva looking for her next commercial and artistic triumph.
The record elevates Drury’s personal observations about the battle between the sexes into the realm of universal archetypes. She stands for every woman ever burned in a relationship and is talking to every potential love interest looking to hook up. The hard-rocking title cut is a gauntlet thrown by Drury at the feet of potential lovers. “You want to be free,” she sings, tauntingly, accusingly. Well, the hard-rocking invitation to “Come to My House” is cut by the warning, “You better start with your mind.”
Of course, no sugar is spilled without a little sweet talk, skillfully delivered with “Make It Easy” and the sultry reggae come-on “I Know You Want Me,” which features keyboard accompaniment from Cleary. As the relationship moves on, the battle is joined on “Construct” and the existential dilemma documented in “That’s What You Mean.”
Eventually love devolves into tristesse, beautifully articulated in the world-weary disillusion of “Every Time You Come Around.” Porter plays a beautifully wistful guitar line in support of the long-suffering sentiment of the lyric. His lead guitar work, along with that of Shane Theriot, is superb throughout and he captures an aspect of Drury’s singing that has created a new persona for her without changing anything of its essential nature. The result is an absolute triumph, matching a talented and increasingly self-confident songwriter and vocalist with a sound that is perfectly suited to her.
“This is the last chance I ever took on love,” Drury concludes in the catchy “Tell Me,” an assertion that has the combination of worldly wisdom and willingness to take a calculated risk. Until, you know, the next time.