Serabee – Hummingbird Tea
Serabee has originality but dips liberally into soundscapes of established artists. She has a fine song on her new CD — “Tennessee” with all its Dolly Parton ballad nuances mixed with the power of Reba McIntyre. It’s not imitation, it’s tonality. Serabee (lead vocals/piano/acoustic guitar/bgv) fortunately, doesn’t rely on this on every track.
There are good songs scattered throughout the Mississippi singer’s CD. But she falls victim to basic country singing cliches. Not always with lyrics but intonation, the showcase & pop-country confections. She doesn’t need it. Not at all. This sounds like a criticism but it’s a suggestion that she either gets the songs across or gets Serabee across. Which is it?
Her voice is vivid & on “I’m Closed,” delves into a soulful showcase deliciously. “Drunk Woman’s Words,” is heavier & bluesier & is where Serabee shines. This is her forte. Loaded. Lyrics like “the truth is in the whiskey…” nice.
The 14-cut Hummingbird Tea (Drops Oct 14–Rabadash Records) is a good set by Serabee. Tight arrangements, excellent musicians & vocals are reliable. The harmonica (Mickey Raphael) especially on “I Need Saving Too,” teeters between ballad, spiritual & soul music. All superb.
The 61-minute CD was produced by Serabee & John Autin (piano/Wurlitzer/Rhodes/keyboard) & includes — Shane Theriot (guitars), Nick Necaise (B3 Hammond/acoustic guitar/mandolin), Dave Easley (pedal steel guitar), Casandra Faulconer (bass), Eric Bolivar (drums) with Tom Fitzpatrick (sax), Evan Oberla (trombone/horn arrangements) & Barney Floyd (trumpet), Charles Carter (flutes/sax/bgv) & Lance Seymour (acoustic guitar).
Serabee shines best in the soulful country recipe. “Anything Like The Boy,” is a hot little brass-inflected tune.
Highlights – “Tennessee,” “Drunk Woman’s Words,” “I Need Saving Too,” “Loves To Love a Woman,” “Burn” “Has Anybody Told You,” (with Phoebe Snow type vocalizing yelps), & “Moonchild,” (close to Valerie June territory, excellent song).
Work on an image that’s just as paramount as the repertoire. Sera sings a hell of a lot more like Janis Joplin than Taylor Swift. You can’t have both.
Piano image from Serabee’s Twitter. CD @ https://www.serabeemusic.com/