My One and Only Thrill by Melody Gardot is big time as I get to post this but I had never heard of her.
I got to hear a song called Lover Undercover earlier this week, and the first thing that came to my mind was, yes, you got it, this is not Madeleine Peyroux, not Norah Jones, not even that young British girl who found success and stopped singing the blues. As I spent the week listening to her newer releases and then her first album, Some Lessons, I discovered Melody Gardot, an amazing jazz singer who is sowing seeds of happiness through her magical voice and her determination to stick to what she believes in.
The way one notices pregnancies all around when one is pregnant, I started bumping into stories on Melody from the time her songs have been playing in my head, and all of them talk about her struggles first and her music as more of a consequence of her challenges rather than as her primary function as an artist. This is very understandable, since an inspiring life expressed through music does have an appeal, perhaps a slightly freakshowish one, but an appeal all the same. It is like saying the greatness of the chorale lies in deafness or that Here We Go Again is special cuz Ray was stoned and blind; it does in some way dilute the creative essence of the performance.
While both Worrisome Heart and My One And Only Love are beautifully packaged with superb production values, the earthy spontaneity of Some Lessons will be hard for anyone to recreate for a long, long time, if ever. Some of the tracks from this debut EP were re-recorded for Worrisome HeartWorrisome Heart, but structurally, Some Lessons holds up much better by itself as an album. The opening track, Wicked Ride, sets the tone with its smoky reverb and dark and gendered lyrics. The title track captures her struggles with learning, since at the end of the day, learning is usually not enough. A centimeter to the left and life would be different and the whole universe would be changed. But then life is about that centimeter and the pain of coming to rejoice in it.
My favorites on this EP: Wicked Ride and Momma.