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July/August 2004

Laura Welland
Love Is Never Out of Season
OA2 Records

To the ever-growing roster of Seattleites with genuine vocal sass, you can now add the name Laura Welland. Surely, I'm assuming, the only song stylist to ever abandon a successful engineering career to pursue music, Welland started out as a trumpeter, switched to bass, then finally, midway through an instrumental recording session, opened her mouth to sing. Result? As demonstrated a dozen times on her debut album, Love Is Never Out of Season (OA2), Welland's a little bit Blossom Dearie and a little bit Ann Hampton Callaway, with feet planted firmly in both the jazz and cabaret camps.

Supported by the sort of A-list trio you'd expect to (and often do) find behind established stars-Billy Mays on piano (replaced for three tracks by Larry Fuller), John Clayton on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums-Welland weaves a multicolored musical tapestry that stretches from a dusky "When I Grow too Old to Dream" to the bright, bouncy title track. I'll admit little fondness for her "Be My Love" (a sentiment I blame less on her performance than on the tune's clunky grandiosity) but figure she more than makes up for it with a slow-baked "I Got the Sun in the Morning" and a "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" that hints at the combined smokiness of Julie London and Jeri Southern.

Originally published in July/August 2004
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