Cd_chrismcnulty_thesong_span3
03/18/13

Chris McNulty
The Song That Sings You Here
Challenge Records

There are far too many talented vocalists who, given the anemic state of the music business, don’t record nearly as often as they (or we) deserve. At the forefront of that group stands Chris McNulty. A quarter-century has passed since McNulty landed in New York from her native Australia, during which time her output has totaled just six albums.

Since the onset of her jazz career, McNulty has maintained an intriguing unpredictability, a terrific ability to trace serpentine routes while traversing pop and jazz standards, often taking them to previously undiscovered places yet never straying dangerously off course. Here, for instance, consider a seemingly straight-ahead “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” that weaves ever so slightly astray, or her curved and twisted repaving of “On the Street Where You Live.” On “Lonely Woman” and “Last Night When We Were Young,” she tempers the prevailing melancholy with an undercurrent of hope-fueled anticipation, resulting in a fascinating sense of looking simultaneously backward and forward.

And McNulty remains an underappreciated songwriter. Her eight-minute “Long Road Home—The Song That Sings You Here,” to name one sterling example, is a circuitous exploration of love’s vagaries and its ultimate immutability.

Originally published in March 2013
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