Yvette Landry: No Man’s Land (Independent)

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No sophomore slump here, Yvette Landry delivers a beaut that honky tonks its way through an assortment of colorful tales told mostly from a woman’s perspective. Whether it’s turning the tables, perpetuating romantic failure or finding lasting love, she covers a wide range of topics as captured by an observant eye. Some such as “What I’m Thinking” and “I’d Love to Lay You Down” are funny and you’d hate to be the rascal that the female protagonist is hunting down. On the shuffling “Three Chords and a Bottle,” this gal’s about her music and is not about to play the game.

Though she pretty much shot from zero to sixty on her debut, it’s also evident she continues to evolve as a writer. She’s becoming a master of such inventive phrases as ‘Butterfly kisses, crackerjack mornings,’ the latter a reference to the unexpected prize or dud that the day may bring. There’s twists and turns as well—later in the same song (“Butterfly Kisses”), it’s clear that the protagonist never recovered from love lost and drinks her life way. Tempo shifts are used effectively to shift emotion (“Forever Cowboy”).

While she excels at honky tonk—especially with ace steeler Comeaux’s perfect fill-in—she isn’t afraid to have other arrangements lean towards bluegrass, Americana and classic rock. “Yeah, You Right!” is almost experimental with its blend of country and zydeco featuring Geno Delafose (accordion/drums), Lil Buck Sinegal (guitar) and Erick Adcock (organ). While the band’s hot and guests like Cindy Cashdollar and Bill Kirchen never hurt, would this still work without her expressive set of pipes? Probably not, and her gripping performance on “When I Die” should be enough to win over any remaining skeptics.