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Paula Frazer - photo by Debra A. Zeller


The voice of 90s alt country standout, Tarnation, Paula Frazer again raises the bar here on her sophomore solo outing. Substantive and solid craftsmanship sit eye to eye with a deep emotional center found here on Leave The Sad Things Behind. These ten originals share the gift of Frazer's strong songs and above all, her well-appreciated yet still underknown voice, an instrument of purity and suppleness that stands in a class all by itself among her contemporaries.

Calling to mind the vulnerability and passion of Iris Dement, the bold blueness of Patsy Cline and Dusty Springfield, as well as the sensationally secure pop sensibility of Dionne Warwick, Frazer is both earthily sublime and stimulating. Especially delicious here on Leave The Sad Things Behind is where her voice doubles, triples, (quadruples?) tracks on which she's recorded on lead and on background vocals. "No Other" perfectly exemplifies this thrilling feat. Her phrasing is jazz with the bold heart of gospel soul, the directness of country; she positively soars on tunes like "Waiting For You" and "Taken" with just enough restraint in the delivery to maintain dynamic tension.

Full-bodied songs boast whirling piano and the rhythm section from the Bay Area's ever-popular Court And Spark, part and parcel, strong and true. Fully addictive in its soulful pop splendor, listening to Leave The Sad Things Behind is like stepping into a dress in which one feels ferocious and beautiful, and navigating with ease a territory that once seemed impassable. Such confidence and clarity has long been Frazer's calling card. The delight is that she just keeps getting better.  • Paige La Grone Babcock

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paulafrazer.com      birdmanrecords.com

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