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Erika Luckett photo by Stacey Irvin

THE NEW ORLEANS SESSIONS (Birdfish) • Erika Luckett

One of the most important artists in folk/jazz. It's a growing sub-genre that deserves more support at folk radio. Acoustic Guitar Magazine featured Erika in a recent issue as one of the 3 best DIY releases last year, quite a feat in that ever-sprawling group. This also happens to be a favorite artist of ours (see our review of her previous studio recording, My Little Crime).

The New Orleans Sessions is a live solo disc, cut with an intimate audience and producer Ethan Allen at the controls, when he wasn't singing occasional background vocals. Now, a pared down singer songwriter record is one thing, and a solo one is another. All too often, singer songwriters are not adequately adept instrumentalists to make a solo recording interesting, in this writer's opinion. In Erika's case, she is an accomplished guitarist and composer, so the disc rocks. Two hand tapping, lots of beautiful jazz voicings, and Latin and R&B grooves. But don't expect standards, this is a free-spirited gypsy who's clearing her own trail.

The artist is making a lot of friends along the way, because of her inclusive, expansive way with people. I saw her at a house concert in Nashville some months back and watched a room full of different kinds of people come under her spell. She seems to be on the road rather nonstop, that's for sure.

I've come to know a number of people now who prefer music in its essential form, before adding production ideas and other players. Many of these people also prefer live recording in real time as opposed to picking the best of six takes, or "comping" one, i.e., using the guitar from #3 and the vocal verses from #4, and the choruses from the first take. Both kinds of purists (and I mean that in a good way) will revel in this impressive recording. As if all that were not enough, the multilingual artist sings in Spanish, and a Pixinguinha classic, "Carinhoso," in Portuguese. You need to check clips from this and also from My Little Crime on our Listen pages. And you can buy them here.  • FG

clips from The New Orleans Sessions
clips from My Little Crime

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