Listeners looking for something fresh and new should check out the debut CD from singer-songwriter Alyse Black.
The Austin, Texas-based newcomer brings together an eclectic mix of original pop and jazz songs on Too Much & Too Lovely. The 12-track CD includes "Stood For Stand For," which earned Black first-place honors in Billboard’s 2007 World Song Contest in the jazz category. The moody ballad showcases Black’s silky vocals, which are backed by a low-key but strong ensemble of piano, trumpet, bass, and drums.
Black has been compared to a host of different female vocalists, including Regina Spektor, Feist, Fiona Apple, and Kate Bush. One more to add to the list is Tori Amos. All of these singers fall into the indie-pop genre, and that’s a category that suits Black but is too narrow to define her. The CD kicks off with "Emeline," a catchy pop tune that has all the playfulness of Spektor’s singing and the wonderment of Amos’ lyrics. Black sounds as lovely as Bush throughout the CD, especially on the beautiful "Sally All My Days."
Despite the many comparisons, Black is her own woman, with a strong, sultry voice and a point of view that comes out in her lyrics. A jazz influence that also helps her stand out from the crowd gives her another hue in her colorful palette.
Too Much & Too Lovely is an impressive, original debut.