[Guest blogging today, Robert Mueller]
In high-temperature mellow Vanessa Boyd sings and quizzes and spells, coaxing a super-planing frisson and still more touchy thrill for her audiences in local New York City establishments. I recently heard a dynamite (truly!) performance at a box of a Bengalese food counter way downtown. There was no highlighting, no shadowing, just good acoustical and a capella reaction. Offering song, spoken word and an intriguing assertiveness drama (bordering on the unique), her performing had every bit of that true and unaccountable magnificence that you might not believe coming from her all-at-once sleek and purple and dazzling ukulele accompaniment. These are tonalities to behold, splendors even in their undoing of their “desperate sexuality.”
In the two years or so since her arrival from a Tennessee home-ground, Vanessa Boyd has brought more than her intertwined delights; she has brought an expediency of wonder. She has grown a following and a style, and a committed and strangely comfortable appeal, with plenty of regional motion power, and plenty of tough talk. You are invited to try the experiment. Her website, vanessaboyd.com, lists no less than three albums and offers a beautifully-produced selection for your listening.
Ms. Boyd shows her complicated talents in the selection “Non-Existing Girlfriend” as she thrills at the higher, slithery range of her glorious voice and paints a fetching picture of emotional neglect. It might not be the right take to note the catchy bravado and joyous self-proclaiming, but the singer seems to find fresh wind in confronting a bad deal. And so disrespect is now respectably rich, and abnegation turns to positive negation in a lovely clash of sensible song-writing.
“Kidney Punch,” also on the website, presents artful narrating; it’s a bit of a shock and you won’t miss it. A favorite vocal, “Friends of Mine,” is in Ms. Boyd’s main register with its more deeply robust and incendiary sounds. Here fine and tricky urging sets the tone, tonal ambiance sets the release.
Vanessa Boyd is on tour this month and has engagements in Shreveport, and then on to points in Arizona and Tennessee and a final stop in Philadelphia.
— Robert Mueller