Jo Lawry - "Taking Pictures"

I'm thinking of starting a "blog series" or "bunch of Shilansky opinions" series or whatever these are, with the name "Drivin' and Listenin'" or something like that, because I seem to do most of my focused listening to music in the car in recent years. The other night (driving back from my gig in NYC… so….) I listened to Jo Lawry's excellent "Taking Pictures" record, and the standout tracks for me are "Impossible" (which features an especially fine guest vocal performance from one Gordon Sumner. It's amazing but he might be singing better now than he ever has in his life. I heard him with Paul Simon a year ago and he was rare form that night, and on this Jo Lawry tune he really delivers, every part of his range, lots of subtlety mixed with some rockin' out.) and "Ready Aim Fire" (not that I want this review to be all about Mr. Stingman, but on this tune Jo seems to be saying to her boss "Remember when you used to do music like this?", because it sounds like a long-lost Police track). I hope that the Sting thing gives this great record a boost (in Sales? song placements? Spotify? However people consume music…). A few years ago Sting's presence on "Impossible" would have easily helped it find its way onto "VH1's Top 20" or some such list. It's definitely a better tune than most of what we're hearing on the radio these days. Anyway… check this record out. It's a nice mix of pastoral pop with world-music touches like the ones I mention above and some more straight-up folk, and in case you thought I'd never mention it, Jo Lawry herself is one of the best singers in any genre in which you hear her, from jazz standards to back-up singing to these lovely personal tunes.

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