Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones – Here To Tell The Tale
Out of the Hudson Valley comes a fiery upbeat powerhouse band led by the beautiful wackadoodle retro-looking Lara Hope who has the goods. Not only does she sing well she has the inflections of a great show-woman. Her voice is filled with raw intensity. “Let’s Go!” indeed.
From there she firecrackers a real 50s spray of notes on “Stop, Drop & Roll,” with a hint of sax & thick Gretsch guitar playing. Easily danceable jewel. While she doesn’t sound like a band trying to raise the dead of old rockabilly she infuses her showcase with a new dimension. Maybe because she has that Genya Ravan (Ten Wheel Drive) – “Morning Much Better,” authenticity & authority in her presentation.
On her 3rd LP Here To Tell The Tale (Drops June 25 – Sower Records) Lara’s band cooks consistently in mixed genres of Western Swing, rockabilly, pop, jazzy rhythm & blues & enlivened by superb dance beats. Her band is the perfect backup with its expansive musical attack.
The 11-cut CD was produced by Lara & her band – a complete independent production. This band is only essentially 4 people & the sound is heavy like a rich espresso flavored cheesecake. You’re full but you keep asking for another slice.
Lara (rhythm guitar), “Shreddie” Eddie Rio (lead guitars ala Les Paul at his flaming best), Matt “The Knife” Goldpaugh (upright bass he designed), Jeremy Boniello (drums/percussion) with guests: Matt Jordan (piano), Hayden Cummings (tenor & baritone saxes), Rosie Rion Porco (fiddle & cello), Bobcat Arkham (baritone guitar), MaryKate Burnell, Erica Pivko & Liz Harrington (backup vocals). The “Drink to Your Health” Chorale Singers.
Want to dance? “Some Advice,” is the kicker. Some moody atmospheric beauty of a ballad can be found in “It’s a Crime.” By cut 6 you still have no time to go to the john for a whizz. The songs are that compelling, driven & excellent. Lara has expertise & style – intonation, phrasing & tone – all to perfection with robust arrangements to every song laid down with imaginative panache by her musicians.
On “Knocked Out,” Lara parallels the musical approach even Bob Dylan explored in his songs a few years ago. This has a nice vintage nostalgic sound — rollicking & fun.
Lara appears to be a novelty act by her mode of dress but don’t be fooled. This is a pro with skill & a showcase loaded with nitroglycerin. If her live shows come anywhere close to her recordings she’s bound to be a memorable performer.
“The Art of Asking,” confirms Lara’s vocal ability to bridge the blues, the jazzy vocalese of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, & show tunes. That’s a lot to encompass but it’s here miraculously blossoming like sunflowers.
The band is so tight you couldn’t slide a razor blade between them.
The 38-minute CD is available @ Amazon & Bandcamp & https://www.larahopeandtheark-tones.com/