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If on her last record of original material Mary Kadderly went “zoom,” here she slows down to take a good look around. And the results of this deceleration are terrific. “Lucky Me” is Kadderly’s best record yet.
The atmosphere is set with the opening song “Scene of the Crime”. Her vocal tone fits perfectly here and dances nimbly around the melody. Dan Faenhle’s supple guitar smoothes the lyric’s sharper edges
The opening Zen of “Love Reconnaissance gives way to the album’s funkiest number by far. Dan Gildea uncorks a sparkling lead guitar solo. Joey Siefers’ bass and Anthony Jones’ drums lay down a solid rhythm section.
From “Ode to Billy Joe’s” first line about the dusty delta day it’s clear Kadderly can get swampy when she needs to. We feel the humidity. Then when the drums kick in things get seriously groovy. Gildea sashays through again with a prickly guitar solo.
On the title track, “Lucky Me,” Kadderly finds the answer. She waited just long enough, and it came. The chorus is beautiful, and very moving. The stripped down quality of the production plays to the tunes advantage. Clay Giberson does graceful piano work, and Kadderly’s singing is nicely self-contained.
The twang of “Tonight I’m Your Bride” comes as something of a surprise and it succeeds wonderfully. Dan Balmer plays a perfect guitar shuffle, and his solo is masterfully droll. Eddie Perante’s violin adds some down home authenticity.
“You Said Spooky” has a Latin feel to it, with cleverly moody piano from Peter Boe both before and during the solo, but the solo in particular is spectacular. On this number Kadderly’s defiant: “I’m not some hero’s concubine/ I’m your dreamgirl valentine.”
The hookiest song might be “You Wear My Love Like a Crown.” Its chorus is almost impossible not to spend the day humming. Hamilton Cheifetz’ cello provides soul and texture.
The two closing numbers, “When That I Was” and “O Mistress Mine,” with lyrics lifted from Shakespeare, are both gorgeous. The latter Kadderly sings with precise control, working the words with aplomb. When she says “Then come kiss me/ Sweet and twenty,” we feel like instantly obliging. The breathy final note and the sweetly rising piano make for a memorable finish to the whole.
This is a record of manifold charms. The singing, the playing, and the songwriting are all fully realized, and often surprisingly subtle. Kadderly is coming into her own. If she hasn’t quite reached the summit, she’s awfully close to it. Her listeners are just as “lucky” as she is.
—Staff The Oregonian