Rigby Summer – Geography
This, the first full-length LP by Oklahoma-based singer Rigby Summer who’s written for nearly 15 years without recording finally has. What was the old Heinz catsup ad slogan years ago? “Good things come to those who wait.” Well, it’s true.
From the start, she sings her 11-songs with perfection. Evident on songs like “Michigan,” & “The Weight (Unrequited),” is an Emmylou Harris-quality. Wonderfully rendered songs that show the diversity in Ms. Summer’s voice. No showboating, just a complete understanding of which words mean more than others. The inflection, phrasing, & her tonality overall — sincere.
Geography (Drops Oct 22–Independent) is based on geographical areas. An original concept for an album produced by Rigby with Kyle Reid (pedal steel-lead guitar/organ/banjo). “Hold On,” the first single is nothing special except that the pristine mandolin supports Summer’s swelling vocals is heartwarming. There are potent moments mindful of Sarah McLachlan crossed with Mary Chapin Carpenter.
More upbeat is the jaunty “Kentucky,” with its fiddle sawing & acoustic guitars. Country music rooted in a Kitty Wells-Loretta Lynn-Tammy Wynette richness. Rigby (rhythm guitar/piano) has ventured from a Kansas City jazz route to California beach pop & resides comfortably now in a red dirt Oklahoma Americana.
Proof? “Leaving” is a spare jewel & with headphones, it sounds like Rigby sings personally to you. With her baritone ukulele recorded in her bedroom in Stillwater, OK. If Patsy Cline were alive today…
All songs are by Nadia Piotrowsky (aka Rigby Summer). David Leach (Upright bass), Nick Gedra (BGVS/Mandolin/Fiddle), Shandee Allen (BGV), Steve Boaz (Percussion), & Andy Baker (Dobro).
Another jewel among the eleven is the spare “Rear View Mirror,” with cello & piano dominating. Yet, it’s Ms. Summer’s vocal fills it with a gratifying sound of exposed feelings & an exuberant tone. Lovely ballad.
Ms. Summer’s talent lies in her ability to sing about varied subjects with clarity, never superficial, seldom cliched. Her warmth & immediacy provides bright bursts in what could’ve been mediocre tunes & none are.
“NY or LA” is an enthusiastic percussive narrative with the 2nd vocal by Johnny Carlton. If the late Laura Nyro sang faster songs this would be her niche. Yes, it’s that good.
Summer never ceases to provide interesting songs. “Fall,” is mellow with effective words & haunting Matt Magerkurth cello. An assertive, well-structured & its undercurrents are enticing. Doesn’t easily fall into any one genre. It could be Dead Can Dance with Lisa Gerrard or any performance artist accompaniment like Jane Siberry. It laments with an incisive approach. Impressive.
More of the same follows on “Buy Me a Piano,” a glorious country-flavored song, literate storytelling & Louise Goldberg accordion & piano. Exceptional. This is at best a beautiful collection of music.
Photo courtesy of Ms. Summer’s website. The 45-minute CD available @ https://rigbysummer.com/home