Audrey Bussanich – Go For a Drive – EP
There are few female vocalists who have the rich jazzy intonation & phrasing Joni Mitchell provided in her later years. This 20-something chanteuse, classically trained pianist has it on “Take Time.” Her vocal is mature with cohesive music & the lyrics amply capture the notes in a mannered way. There’s a lovely seriousness that’s entertaining with backing vocals that dazzle.
While there’s no hippie-dippy approach to her material Audrey Bussanich maintains a poetic singer-songwriter perspective that would’ve fit perfectly during that heady era. “Green,” is garnished with fancy words – apartment? She actually negotiated that awkward word into a song lyric. Yes, she did.
The 6 tunes produced by Davin Kingston for Go For a Drive (Drops June 20-Independent) does their job. It motivates listeners to want to hear more about Audrey. Through this short repertoire, she knows that less is more. There are no showboating songs, no embellished pianist runs & everything sounds balanced, thorough & detailed without losing the value of the composition’s meaning.
The title song is beautiful — has the fairy-tale-like vocal style of English vocalist Sally Oldfield. Audrey has fine intonation, phrasing & tonality. If she’s not the logical successor of Joni then who? While Joni had expertise on the guitar & poetic finesse with her lyrics whether folky or jazz-oriented, Audrey has piano expertise & possesses vocal poignancy that suits her most striking interpretive lyrical attributes (“Follow”).
Each song is a carefully planned painting. Just the right colors, hues & textures. “Take Time,” returns as a duet with Chris Peters & its narrative lyric is even stronger. This is Joni Mitchell’s territory as polished & redefined as one could hope.
There’s a pleasure in listening to Audrey Bussanich. Hopefully, she’ll successfully maintain the quality of her songwriting in full-length LPs. She has the voice, piano & pen to be unfailingly melodious, poetic (even with assistance) & original.
Down the road, I’d hope her lyrics would be more descriptive & intense. Some of her material is studied rather than spontaneous – best on pieces like “Walking Away,” which is a sure-fingered distinguished tune, sung impeccably. The way she showcases the acoustic guitar — paints with articulated grace between the sensitive words. Not easy. Audrey doesn’t rely on cliches, repetitiveness, or a groove.
This is an EP – but it’s one of the year’s best. Many songs are exquisite & carefully structured. Nothing succeeds like getting into someone’s ears – but, in the case of Audrey, she got into my heart. How can that be?
If I’d known Audrey Bussanich 20 years ago I would have wanted to co-write with her. She’s refined, creative & challenging. She has a wealth of music in her pores. Both color images: Koo Chung.
CD @ iTunes, Amazon + https://www.audreybussanich.com/