Tallulah Moon, the latest from singer Miss Sophie Lee, sees her accompanied by a band culled largely from members of the Cottonmouth Kings. The sound is New Orleans jazz meets gypsy swing, the latter suggested by John Rodli’s briskly strummed guitar and Matt Rhody’s highflying violin.
Miss Lee’s singing has a highly conversational quality, and the more fun she sounds like she’s having, the more fun we have listening. It’s an approach that can bring warmth and intimacy to the music, but gone awry it can make things rather dreary.
Consider the album’s opener (and strongest track), “Delta Bound.” Every lilt and twirl of Miss Lee’s voice is full of infectious glee; what she lacks in raw “oomph” she makes up for in grace and zeal. It’s hard not to smile (and maybe even to sing along).
Alternately, consider “We Can’t Go on This Way,” a track that is utterly charming but for the flatness of Miss Sophie’s vocal. This song ought to be right up her alley; it is, after all, a “you and me”-type love song, perfectly suited to her nod-and-a-wink style. Yet she doesn’t seem to be feeling it, so neither do we.
The musicians play their parts well; Bruce Brackman and Charlie Fardella, on clarinet and trumpet, respectively, wail with great gusto. The sound quality of the live tracks (recorded at Mimi’s in the Marigny) leaves a little to be desired, but this is a lively record, satisfying if inconsistent.