Lynne Hanson – Ice Cream In November
Canada has been known as a hotbed for good country-inflected artists who are writers who see the genre from a different perspective. The Band was all Canadian except for drummer Levon Helm. Their repertoire was surprisingly original & good Americana. Ottawa’s award-winning singer-songwriter Lynne Hanson embarks on her 9th studio CD & she’s not at a loss for wonderful ideas.
“Shadowland,” is propulsive & “Hip Like Cohen” is like a 50s pop tune clenched in the teeth of a steady beat, finger-popping melody & backup singers that sound borrowed from the late Bobby Rydell’s hit records.
Production on the 12-cut Ice Cream In November (Drops April 22–Panda Cave Records) & its title song is pristine. Ms. Hanson’s explorations remain true to a contemporary blend of both mainstream hip & retro musicality. Hanson’s diverse within her own original interpretations of the broad genres she writes about. Her voice potentiates popular music with modern sensitivity that’s effective & assertive.
“Ice Cream In November” features an exciting lead-guitar dabble (on the CD version) that comes in a Robert Fripp-like Frippertronics sound that had been heard on early 70s Roches songs & the first Darryl Hall solo LP “Sacred Songs.” But Lynne’s song is an elegant, cool well-cultivated performance with urgent lyrics no American country artist is currently exploring. Not that I’ve heard.
“Hundred Mile Wind,” comes in a different tone. Warmer like New Zealand’s Donna Dean & Michigan’s Carrie Newcomer. Another radiant story-based lyric built on a peppery beat, winding saw-like lead guitar & possessing an undefinable quality. This Lynne Hanson has a signature sound – it’s her own.
The set was produced by Lynne (acoustic/electric guitars/mellotron/piano/drum/vocals) & Blair Michael Hogan (electric-6 & 12-string acoustic guitars/banjo/piano/mandolin/organ/drum/mellotron/baritone guitar/synth/programming).
It features Phil Shaw Bova (drums/percussion/vibraphone), Peter Klaassen (upright bass), Raphael Weinroth -Browne (cello), and Steve Marriner (harmonica), Caroline Marie Brooks, Tara Holloway & Mikhail Laxton (backing vocals).
A return to the Newcomer tone on “Orion’s Belt,” has a touch of the emotional vocal phrasing of Kris McKay (“If Ever You Need Me”) finds Lynne’s sincere vocal exceptionally performed since it confirms that Lynne knows what lyrics are important, need emphasis & accentuates emotion.
Changing her vocal to a more sinister tone with fiery harmonica “Birds Without a Feather” teeters again in Donna Dean’s territory (“Rain Fall On Me”). It builds on the style rather than imitates. This is like using the same ingredients in a good recipe to bake a different cake. Lynne has savvy lyrical tunes with good turns of phrases, and sweet resplendent storytelling as exemplified in “Dominoes.” Her inflection, phrasing — all impressive. There are songs in this 48-minute set that glaze over the pop girl groups of the 60s. I could hear the Shangri-Las & Lesley Gore voices cover “One of Those Days,” it’s that good a pop song and…
Lynne Hanson is that good an artist.
Color image by Jen Squires. The CD is available @ https://www.lynnehanson.com/