Being asked to review musical talent is always a pleasure. Alas, I do not have enough column space to write about all the CDs sent me. However, coming to The Rathskeller April 29 is a new musical obsession of mine I would like you to get to know.
If a miracle had occurred and a love child was created by Joni Mitchell, a sober Janis Joplin and fellow-Chicagoan Rikki Lee Jones, her name would be Daphne Willis.
Willis has released What to Say through Vanguard Records. Producing a folksy/ bluesy/Caribbean sound, I was surprised to find this was Willis’ debut album. The singer-songwriter has a laid-back smooth sound which lends itself to either great background music or listen-to-and-discuss music, depending on the track chosen and the mood you’re in at the moment.
The listener is tricked into believing they are hearing a world-weary older singer when in truth Willis is a fresh-faced twenty-something with a positive, enthusiastic approach to life. Perhaps Willis is an old spirit in a college student’s physical form; however, she delivers the veteran-style goods especially with Everybody Else, Love and Hate and slowed-down Pulled Tight.
I sat down with Willis while she was performing in town recently and was impressed by her professionalism and quality of live sound.
Plucked from anonymity in an unusual way, Willis’ talent was discovered by Welk Music Group president Kevin Welk during a flight as he listened to American Airlines’ piped-in music. This proved to be a lucky break for her and us.
Bottom Line: You’re best bet is to catch this remarkable talent right away so you can keep track of her almost certain journey to becoming a household name.
If you have an event or performance you would like reviewed, send an e-mail to Elizabeth@gottago.us. Me, I will right here, wondering whatever happened to Rikki Lee Jones…
*Photo credits: Laura Crosta
This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.